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Full text of "A handbook of Siberia and Arctic Russia : Volume 1 : General"

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Volume I 


Compiled by the Geographical Section of the Naval Intelligence 
Division, Naval Staff, Admiralty 


To be purchased through any Bookseller or directly from 
H.M. STATIONERY OFFICE at the following addresses : 
Imperial House, Kingswav, London, W.C. 2, and 
28 Abingdon Street, London, S. W. 1 ; 
37 Peter Street, Manchester ; 
1 St. Andrew's Crescent, Cardiff ; 
23 Forth Street, Edinburgh ; 
or from E. PONSONBY, Ltd., 116 Grafton Street, Dublin. 

Price 7s. 6d. net 

Printed under the authority of 

His Majesty's Stationery Office 

By Frederick Hall at the University Press, Oxford. 


The region covered in this Handbook includes besides Liberia 
proper, that part of European Russia, excluding Finland, 
which drains to the Arctic Ocean, and the northern part of 
the Central Asian steppes. The administrative boundaries of 
Siberia against European Russia and the Steppe provinces 
have been ignored, except in certain statistical matter, because 
they follow arbitrary lines through some of the most densely 
populated parts of Asiatic Russia. 

The present volume deals with general matters. The two 
succeeding volumes deal in detail respectively with western 
Siberia, including Arctic Russia, and eastern Siberia. 

Recent information about Siberia, even before the outbreak 
of war, was difficult to obtain. Of the remoter parts little is 
known. The volumes are as complete as possible up to 1914 
and a few changes since that date have been noted. No 
attempt, however, has been made to give any account of the 
social, and political and economic conditions which are the 
outcome of the Russian revolution of 1917. 

Russian statistics have never been very trustworthy. As 
regards Siberia, when given separately from Russia and Central 
Asia, they are seldom of recent date. Such statistics as are 
obtainable are given in the chapters to which they refer. All 
figures relating to population must be accepted with caution. 

The Admiralty will be glad to receive corrections and 



Transliteration of Russian Characters ... 10 

Maps of Siberia and Arctic Russia . . . .13 

I. General Geographical Features .... 15 

Position, boundaries and extent — West and East Siberia 
— Main geographical divisions — Rivers — Lakes — Coasts. 

II. Climate 28 

General characteristics — Temperature — Pressure and 
Winds— Precipitation — Climate and Agriculture — Climatic 
Regions — Freezing and thawing of the Rivers of Siberia. 

III. Vegetation 44 

The Tundra — Coniferous Forests — The Amur Forests— 
The Pacific Forests— Alpine Vegetation — Wooded Steppes 
— Kirghiz Steppes — Transbaikal Steppes. 

IV. Animal Life, Fisheries and Hunting . . . .51 

Animal Life — Fisheries : A, Arctic Russian ; 13, Western 
Siberian ; C, Eastern Siberian — Products of Wild Animals. 

V. Native Tribes of Siberia and Arctic Russia . . 93 

Classification: I. Palaeo-Siberian Tribes; II. Neo- 
Siberian Tribes : (i) Finno-Ugrian, (ii) Samoyedic, 
(hi) Turkic, (iv) Mongolic, (v) Tungusic. 

VI. Colonization of Siberia 187 

Elements of Immigrant Population — Distribution and 
Number of Colonists — The present System of Colonization 
— The Exile System — Colonization of the various Pro- 
vinces — Distribution of Russian Population — The Yellow 
Question and Colonization — Encouragement of Coloniza- 
tion in Arctic Russia. 

VII. Religion in Siberia 210 

Russian Religion : History — The Clergy — Church 
Government — The Orthodox Religion — Raskolniki — Sha- 

VIII. Hygiene 228 

Climatic complaints — Zymotic diseases — Nervous 
diseases — Want of Sanitation. 

IX. Agriculture . 232 

Western Siberia — Eastern Siberia. 




X. Live-Stock 248 

Domestic animals — Apiculture — Dairy Industry. 

XI. Timbeb Industry . . . . . . .201 

Timber and Timber-trade — Sawmills — Wood Industries 

XII. Mineral Resources 271 

Iron — Copper — Gold — Silver — Zinc and Lead — Platinum 

— Asbestos — Graphite — Mica — Petroleum — Other 
Metallic Ores — Coal — Salt — Precious Stones and Building 

XIII. Manufacturing Industries 297 

Kustarni Industries — Factories — Chinese Industries in 
the Far East. 

XIV. Natural Resources and Trade of Arctic Russia . 305 

Timber — Agriculture and Stock Breeding — Mineral 
Wealth— Fur and Eider-down — Industry and Trade. 

XV. Divisions, Administration axd Towns . . . 309 

Siberian Boundaries — Governments and Territories 

— Administrative System — Administrative Districts — 
Siberian Towns — Local Government. 

XVI. Roads and Telegraphs 319 

Roads and Travelling — Sledging — Telegraphs and Cables 
— Wireless Telegraphy. 

XVII. Railways 334 

General Considerations — The Siberian Railway — The 
Amur Railway — The Ussuri Railway — The Altai Rail- 
way—Other Siberian Railways — The Murman Railway — 
The Arkhangel-Vologda Railway — New and Projected 

XVIII. Historical Notes 356 

Prehistoric Races — Early Relations with Russia — The 
Early Conquerors — Attempts to conquer tho Amur Region 
—The Treaty of Aigun — The Peking Convention — Russia 
and Japan — Russian Advance in Mongolia. 

Appendix. Weights and Measures — Money — Time — Calendar . 360 

Glossary 370 

INDEX 374 


General Orogbaphical Map /» pocket 


A a a a 

B T 55 e 6 b 

Be v 

r o/ 8 g A in foreign works 

E e e Ve when initial 

M M ?/ i 

I J i i 

Kk & 

Mm ^f m 

H U 21? n 


n n ^ ;> 

C c s 

im t M 7ft m z t 

y v u 





X x X 


U n U 


Hn Y 


in id Qj Y// 


IU m W f 


r bi^ 


bi bi M 




b -b lb /Z 


9 9 


K) 10 K) 


H H 






14 H 2/ 


The combinations bill and IM are transliterated i 


In the above table the principal forms of the letters of the 
Russian alphabet, printed and cursive, which occur in official 
Russian maps are given. In actual practice little or no 
distinction is made between printed and cursive forms, and 
consequently they have not been separated in this table. 
In the case of each letter only the commonest form of the 
small type is given, but in nearly all cases any form of the 
capital type, reduced in size, may be used. 

This system is the same as that used by the Admiralty 
except as regards u;, which the Admiralty transliterate tz 
instead of ts. The War Office system differs from the one 
adopted in this book by transliterating jk by j instead of zh. 
The sound of this letter is represented by the French j, which 
is the equivalent of zh in English. The Royal Geographical 
Society's system is the same as that of the Admiralty. 

All proper names have been transliterated from official 
Russian maps. In the frequent cases of disagreement between 
different maps the 40-verst, or failing that the 100-verst map, 
has been preferred. Only words indicating geographical 
features as bay, lake, &c, have been translated. Russian 
words capable of translation which form the Avhole or part 
of a proper name have not been translated, but transcribed 
into Roman characters, e. g. Byeli, Mzhne. The only excep- 
tions to these rules are in the case of names in common English 
usage such as White Sea, New Siberia Islands, &c. ; and 
names that were originally English or French or of other 
foreign languages and have been adopted by the Russians, 
as de Castries Bay, Nordenskjold Archipelago, Jeannette 
Islands, Valentine Bay, &c. 

In order to simplify reference to Russian maps the adjectival 
endings showing gender of all Russian names have been 
retained. The result of this is a difference in the versions 
of the same name applied respectively to a bay (feminine in 
Russian), a village (masculine), or a church village (neuter). 


The only official map of Siberia which covers the whole 
country is the Map of the Oceans, Seas, Rivers and Lakes of 
Asiatic Russia and Adjoining Lands, scale 100 versts to an 
inch (1 : 4,200,000), published by the Ministry of Ways and 
Communications, 1905. This map is in four sheets. It is 
coloured to show the drainage areas of the chief rivers. No 
attempt is made to show relief. There is much detail in 
relation to rivers, towns, villages, and tracks, but the map is 
untrustworthy in many parts. Moreover it is badly printed 
from worn type and somewhat illegible. 

The topographical section of the Russian General Staff 
publishes a Map of the Frontier Regions of Asiatic Russia, scale 
10 versts to an inch (1 : 420,000). There are twenty sheets in 
all of various dates from 1886 to 1911. The county covered 
is from about lat. 58° N. to northern Mongolia, but in western 
Siberia the sheets go north almost to the Ob delta. All 
Russian Central Asia is covered. The map shows relief by 
hill shading, but a great deal of it appears to be imaginary. 
Beyond the better known districts along the chief rivers and 
the railways this map cannot be relied upon. Roads and tracks 
are shown and a great many names are marked. Rivers 
are clearly indicated in blue. The map is generally legible. 
Little reliance can be placed on the altitudes, given in feet. 

The Ministry of Ways and Communications also published 
in 1911 a Map of Communications of Asiatic Russia, scale 
100 versts to an inch (1 : 4,200,000) in three sheets. The map 
shows roads, railways and navigable rivers, as well as tele- 
graph lines. There are rough indications of topographical 
relief. The map is clear and legible if somewhat diagrammatic, 


but like other maps of Siberia is far from accurate in many 

The Ministry of Ways and Communications also publishes 
a Map of Communications of Asiatic Russia in one sheet on 
a scale of 300 versts to an inch (1 : 12,600,000). The last 
edition revised to date was published in 1916 (Series No. 269). 
The map is clearly printed and gives much accurate informa- 
tion. It covers also European Russia. This map is a great 
improvement on the larger scale map of communications. 

The best small-scale map of Siberia is in two sheets in the 
Atlas Marksa, Petrograd, 1910. It shows Siberia on a scale 
of 1 : 10,000,000. 

The Ministry of Agriculture, Emigration Department, 
published in 1914 a large Atlas of Asiatic Russia, with three 
volumes of text. It contains a number of economic maps 
but no new topographical work and no maps on a scale as large 
as 40 versts to an inch. 

Special maps of parts of Siberia are noticed under the 
chapters to which they refer. 

Of European Russia there are maps on a scale of 10 versts 
to an inch (1 : 420,000), of which a new edition, but with few 
corrections, was issued in 1914. 

The Ministry of Ways and Communications publishes a Map 
of the Railways, Roads, and Waterways of European Russia on 
a scale of 40 versts to an inch. The last edition is dated 1913, 
and there are nine sheets, of which Nos. 2 and 3 cover most of 
Arctic Russia. This map is much better executed than the 
smaller-scale one of Asiatic Russia. 

All the maps referred to above are in Russian. The only 
good map of Siberia in Roman characters is a small scale one 
(1 : 7,500,000) in Stieler's Hand Atlas (1916). It should be 
noted that the transliteration of Russian characters by the 
German system is liable to disguise many of the names. 

Maps of the Amur River and Lake Baikal on a scale of 
I : 1,750,000 are included in Volume III, 



Position, boundaries, and extent — West and East Siberia — Main geographical 
divisions — Rivers — Lakes — Coasts. 

Position, Boundaries, and Extent 

Siberia is bounded by the Ural Mountains on the west, by 
the Arctic and Pacific Oceans on the north and east. In the 
south-west the generally accepted frontier runs from the 
sources of the River Ural in the west across the Central Asian 
steppe lands to the Tarbagatai Mountains, and thence by 
a devious course that does not coincide with the watershed 
eastward to the River Argun and along the Argun and the 
Amur to the Pacific. The western part of this boundary, 
against Russian Central Asia, is an arbitrary one with no 
counterpart in geographical features. Siberia in fact is often 
taken to include the two eastern steppe provinces of Akmo- 
linsk and Semipalatinsk. The northern but not the south- 
ern parts of these are certainly Siberian in character, 
while the same applies to the western steppe province of 
Turgai, which, however, is always excluded from Siberia. 
For the purpose of this book the steppes in general are included 
without adherence to administrative boundaries. The eastern 
part of the southern boundary is against Chinese Mongolia 
and Manchuria and near the Pacific for a few miles against 
Korea. In its western part the Uryankhai region south of 
the frontier is nominally Mongolian but actually in Russian 
occupation. The total land frontier is about 10,000 miles 
long and the sea frontier twice that length. 

Siberia, excluding the steppe regions, has an area of about 
4,800,000 square miles, which is If times the area of Europe, 
2J times the area of European Russia, and 40 times the size 


of the British Isles. Its latitudinal limits are 40° N. to 77 c 
42' N., and it stretches from long. 59° E. to 174° 24' E. The 
Steppe regions included with Siberia in this book add about 
450,000 square miles. 

The name Siberia is supposed to be derived from the Russian 
word ChShp'B, which in the sixteenth century indicated the 
chief Tartar settlement on the Irtish, and was afterwards 
extended to include all Russian possessions in Asia. Later it 
was restricted to its present application. 

West and East Siberia 

Siberia may be conveniently divided into two unequal parts, 
western and eastern, of which western Siberia is the basin of 
the Ob, and though the more important of the two divisions, 
is only one-third of the area of eastern Siberia. The con- 
trast between the south of Siberia with its great fertility, 
and the north with its barrenness almost as extreme, is easily 
recognized, but it is a contrast that holds chiefly in the west. 
The contrast between western and eastern Siberia is not so 
strongly marked and is often overlooked. The conception of 
Siberia as a vast plain rising with the gentlest gradient from 
the sea is true only for the west, or more strictly speaking for 
the Ob basin, and, in Arctic Russia, for the Pechora basin. 
East of the Yenisei these conditions do not hold. The 
elevations become considerable, and east of the Lena the sur- 
face is too irregular to be described as a plain. Low shores 
comparable with those in the west only occur about the mouths 
of the great rivers. In the extreme east the interior highlands 
reach the sea and leave only small and disconnected areas 
of plain along the coast. 

Western Siberia extends through a great range of latitude 
and merges into the steppes of Central Asia and the plains of 
European Russia. Eastern Siberia is much narrower from 
north to south, and narrows progressively towards the east. 
Mountains cut it off from Central Asia and restrict its inter- 
course with the west. In the Amur basin it opens naturally 
to Manchuria. 


Western Siberia has thus a large area in temperate latitudes 
not far removed from Europe, and fit for agriculture, while 
eastern Siberia lies mainly in more northern latitudes far 
removed from Europe, and its wide expanses of forests leave 
little scope for agricultural development. The physical link 
between western and eastern Siberia is Lake Baikal and the 
land route that with difficulty rounds its southern end. 

Main Geographical Divisions 
The main features of the relief of Siberia are comparatively 
simple, and consist of certain well-defined regions. Two high 
plateaux occupy the heart of Asia, and extending from extreme 
west to extreme east cover nearly two-fifths of the area of the 
continent. The western plateau, including Anatolia, Armenia, 
and Iran, is outside the region under consideration, but much 
of the eastern plateau, extending from the Pamirs and the 
Himalayas north-eastward towards the Bering Strait, lies 
within Siberia. This plateau includes Tibet, Chinese Turkes- 
tan, the Gobi desert, Mongolia, and much of Manchuria. A 
great part of it is desert and little of it is suitable for agri- 
culture and human settlement. It forms a buffer land 
between that Asia which turns towards the Pacific and the 
Indian Oceans, tropical and sub-tropical in the main, and that 
which faces the Arctic Ocean and has its principal relations 
with Europe. The plateau lands have always formed an 
obstacle to the intermingling of the peoples on the two sides 
and have discouraged the meeting of east and west. 

North of these plateaux and their high bordering ranges lies 
a broad alpine zone of rugged mountains and deep valleys. 
This zone averages about 150 miles in width, and its peaks 
rise to 5,000 or 6,000 ft. It includes the Altai Mountains and 
the Barguzinsk and other mountains around Lake Baikal. 

North-west of the alpine zone comes the belt of high plains 
at an elevation of 1,500-2,000 ft. and with an average width of 
200 miles, and beyond them, farther to the north-west, lie 
the low plains, not over 500 ft., which slope down gently to 
the Arctic Ocean. 


Similar general physical features are repeated on a smaller 
scale to the south-east of the high plateaux. 

Volcanic activity has played little part in Siberia. On the 
north-west border range of the high plateaux a few volcanic 
formations occur, but there are neither active volcanoes nor 
is there any historic record of one. In Kamchatka, however, 
the Pacific ring of volcanoes touches Siberia, and several active 
volcanoes occur, including Klyuchevskaya (16,130 ft.), said to 
be the loftiest volcano in Asia. 

To these distinctive orographical features of Siberia may 
be added certain details. 

The High Plateaux 
The eastern plateau of Asia, the only one of the two which 
concerns Siberia, covers over one-fifth of the continent and 
extends 5,000 miles from south-west to north-east. It is 
widest in the west and middle, narrows towards the north-east, 
and is bordered by lofty ranges on all sides. Though called 
a plateau it is by no means of a uniform altitude, but is cut 
into terraces sharply defined from one another by escarpments 
which form ranges rising 500 to 1,000 ft. above the general 
level. The highest of these terraces is in the south and in- 
cludes Tibet. It averages 12,000 to 13,000 ft. in height. 
Next in height is the terrace that lies on the north of the 
plateau, stretching from about long. 87° E. to long. 127° E., 
and includes north-west Mongolia and much of the Transbaikal 
region of Siberia with the Selenga, Vitim, and Aldan plateaux. 
This terrace has an average height of 3,000 to 5,000 ft. In 
addition to the escarpments which fringe the terraces there are 
a number of disjointed ranges, many of which run north-west 
and south-east, and others more or less parallel to the greater 
ranges. These still further diversify the surface of the plateau 
and give it the appearance of a region of great structural com- 
plexity. The plateau forms the water-parting between the 
Arctic and Pacific drainage. No stream crosses it from one 
side to the other. But on its surface there are few well-defined 
watersheds between the rivers except the escarpments which 


fringe the terraces. In many cases adjacent rivers are 
separated from one another only by marshes. In the east and 
north-east the high plateau is forested, but in the centre and 
the west it is a desert, and it is little more productive in the 

The high plateaux of Siberia are built of gneisses, schists, 
clay-slates, and old limestones, all of Archaean and Palaeozoic 
age. On these old rocks occur in places Jurassic and Tertiary 
beds which are due to fresh -water lakes in those periods, at a 
time when the lowlands to the north were submerged and the 
proximity of the sea caused greater precipitation on the 
plateaux than is now the case. - 

The Great Border Ranges 

Along the north-western and the south-eastern sides of the 
great plateau are continuous lofty border ranges. The north- 
western range is the most continuous in Siberia and in it occur 
the greatest heights. The continuity of this range is badly 
shown on most maps of Siberia, and its nomenclature is some- 
what confused. The Tienshan, the Sayansk, the Ulan-Burgasi, 
the South Muya, and the Aldan Mountains are all parts of the 
Uorth-western border range. It is 17-25 miles wide and 6,000 
to 8,000 ft. high in the west, decreasing in the north-east to 
4,000 and 3,000 ft. The south-east border range of the great 
plateau is known as the Great Khingan Range from China to the 
Amur River and thence to the north-east as the Stanovoi 
Mountains, including the Dzhugdzhur, Kolimsk, 1 and Anadir 
Mountains. There is still some doubt about the exact course 
of the northern end of the Great Khingan and its junction 
with the Stanovoi Range. In most maps of Siberia it is repre- 
sented as crossing the Amur at the confluence of the Shilka and 
there terminating, while the Yablonoi Mountains are repre- 
sented as running eastward from the head streams of the 
Olekma, forming the northern boundary of the Amur basin 

1 This is the original use of the name Kolimsk Mountains, which is more 
generally hut erroneously applied to the range east of the Kolima River. 

B 2 


and joining the Stanovoi Mountains which continue to the 
north-east. There seems to be no information to support this 
suggestion, which originated arbitrarily in the days when 
little was known of the Amur basin. The supposed continuity 
of the Stanovoi and Yablonoi Mountains has no existence, and 
the Stanovoi Mountains in reality are of the same structure 
and origin as the Great Khingan Range, which crosses the 
Amur in the vicinity of the River Kumara, about 600 miles 
east of the confluence of the Shilka. More light, however, is 
needed on the junction of these ranges. 

The Great Khingan Range is about 1,000 to 2,500 ft. above 
the level of the plains to the east, but it rises little above the 
general level of the plateau, so that, viewed from the west 
from the surface of the plateau, it has hardly the appearance 
of a mountain -range. Its crest is 3,000 to 4,500 ft. The 
Stanovoi Mountains are little known, and their north-eastern 
termination is uncertain. They seem to maintain the general 
features of the Great Khingan Range. 

The continuity of the north-western range is broken in 
places by great trenches or gently graded slopes which give 
access from the plateau to the plains beyond. These trenches 
are the most important orographical features in Central Asia, 
for they link the lowlands of Siberia and the Transcaspian 
steppes with the high plateau and China. The most striking 
is the so-called Dzungarian trench, down which runs the head- 
stream of the Irtish from its source on the plateau to Lake 
Zaisan. As it descends the Irtish receives many tributaries 
from the Mongolian Altai, which stand above the northern side 
of the trench. The Dzungarian trench presents an easy route, 
and was one of the ways by which the Mongols spread west- 
wards to nearer Asia and Europe. Farther east the Selenga 
River descends to Lake Baikal in another trench and affords 
a much-used route via Kyakhta between Siberia and China. 
By the lower part of this trench the Siberian Railway climbs 
to the plateau and by an eastern branch of this trench, down 
which flows the Uda, the Siberian road ascends to Chita on its 
way to the east. 


The Vitim, Olekma and Konam trenches are others along 
the range, named from the streams which flow down them. 

The Alpine Zone 
The broad zone of alpine highlands lying north-west of the 

)lateau is a complex mass of ranges and spurs separated by 

Leep valleys which are often swampy and strewn with boulders. 
Le Altai, Baikal and Barguzinsk Mountains are part of this 

3gion. It has an average width of about 150 miles and a 
length of about 2,000 miles. The summits range from 5,000 to 

>,000 ft. Towards the north-east it becomes lower and less 
rugged as it meets the Arctic Ocean. The so-called Kolimsk 
Mountains (see above) are the most striking features of the 
alpine foreland in the north-east. A longitudinal valley 
10 to 25 miles wide is often noticeable between the border 
range and the alpine foreland. Most parts of this valley are 
occupied by secondary tributaries of the main rivers. The 
valley floor has an elevation of 1,000 to 2,000 ft. The alpine 
foreland is built of granites, syenites and crystalline slates. In 
it occurs the deep depression in which lies Lake Baikal. The 
greater part of the alpine foreland is densely forested, except 
where the peaks rise above the limit of the tree growth, and 
little of it is accurately known. The wild inhospitable nature 
of the region and the virgin forests offer few inducements to its 
penetration by man except where rich gold deposits occur, as 
in the Altai Mountains and the Yeniseisk district. In places, 
however, the fertility of the mountain valleys is attracting 
Russian colonists. Routes through the region are difficult. 
Much skill was required to carry the Siberian Railway round 
the south of Lake Baikal. 

The alpine foreland occurs also to the south-east of the 
Great Khingan Range. It is 70 to 150 miles wide in China, 
but disappears towards the north-east and is lost below the 
waters of the Sea of Okhotsk. 

The High Plains 
Beyond the alpine foreland lies a broad zone, about 200 miles 
wide, of hi^h plains at an elevation of 1,500 to 2,000 ft. They 


have few mountains, the only important ones being the 
Yeniseisk and Verkhoyansk Mountains, but the deep-cut 
gorges of the rivers draining from the plateau and the alpine 
zone give a hilly appearance to the plains. The plains are 
composed of more or less horizontal strata of Upper Devonian, 
Secondary and Tertiary ages in which the rivers have easily 
cut valleys 400 to 800 ft. deep. The high plains are forested 
in the wetter north-east but are steppe lands in the drier 

On the south-eastern side of the plateau there is a belt of 
high plains about 100 miles wide. A range of granitic and 
schistose mountains called indifferently the Little Khingan, the 
Bureya and the Dousse Aliii, runs along these plains parallel 
to the Great Khingan Mountains. Beyond these mountains, 
still farther east are the Sikhota Alin Range of the Maritime 
Province and the ranges crossing Sakhalin and Kamchatka. 

The Low Plains 
That part of Siberia which has most economic importance 
excluding only the Amur valley, and including practically the 
whole of western Siberia, comprises the Ioav plains. They 
are seldom over 500 ft. in elevation, except where a few 
mountain ranges occur, and the}' slope gradually down to the 
Arctic Ocean. In some places an escarpment separates the 
high from the low plains : in other places the transition is 
gradual. The gradient of the plains is very gentle, being less 
than a foot per mile in the west. This gentle gradient is 
continued beneath the sea and gives shoal water far to the 
north of Siberia in the Arctic Ocean. Between the Urals and 
the Yenisei there are no hills of any importance. East of 
the Yenisei are the Pitski Range and the Tunguska Mountains 
on the borders of the high plains, the Syeverma Mountains 
(3,000 ft.) north of the Lower Tunguska, the Birranga Moun- 
tains in the Taimir Peninsula, the Vilyuisk Mountains west of 
the Lena, and the Verkhoyansk and Orulgan Mountains 
(4,000 ft.) east of the Lena. The highest peak in the Verk- 
hoyansk Mountains is said to be 7,900 ft. Farther to the 


east the plains arc more diversified and much narrower. They 
scarcely merit the name of plains as they merge into the 
plateau region of the north-east. 

The low plains of Siberia are of Palaeozoic rocks deeply 
overlaid with post-glacial deposits showing that their emer- 
gence from the waters of the Arctic Ocean is recent from 
a geological standpoint. Many gigantic boulders scattered 

I over their surface were no doubt dropped from floating icebergs. 
The south-western part of the plains is semi-barren steppe- 
land beyond the confines of Siberia, but farther north these 
give place to rich meadow lands where the rainfall and black 
earth afford the best possible conditions for corn-growing and 
cattle-raising. Farther north the grass lands give way to 
forests, which in their turn thin out and disappear in the 
treeless swampy tundra which fringes the Arctic Ocean from 
Scandinavia to the Bering Strait. The tundra is useless for 
cultivation and settlement. 

Across the western plains there are no obstacles to communi- 
cation in any direction except the swamps of the tundra, 
which are impassable in summer, and the dense forests. 

The Plains of Arctic Russia 

The characteristic features of the low plains of Siberia 
occur farther west in Arctic Russia, but their continuity is 
interrupted by the low folds of the Ural Mountains which 
extend from about lat. 50° N to the Arctic Ocean. Their 
summits vary from 2,600 to 5,000 ft., and the greatest height 
is Telposiz (5,530 ft.) in about lat. 64° N. The Urals are low 
and wide, and consist of three discontinuous ranges in the 
south, between which there are many routes. North of lat. 60° 
N. they are more compact and continuous. The range becomes 
lower as it approaches Baidaratskaya Bay, and reappears 
in the low hills of the Yamal Peninsula. Two branches run 
from the Urals towards the north : west. The first is the Timan 
Range, which crosses the plains from about lat. 60° to 62° N. 
to the Kanin Peninsula. Its greatest height is about 750 ft., 
and its average height considerably less. The second range is 


the Pai-Khoi, which runs from about lat. 67° to 68° N. to 
Yaigach and Novaya Zemlya. 

For the rest Arctic Russia east of the White Sea is low and 
swampy like north-western Siberia, and covered with forest 
and tundra. 

The Kola Peninsula 

West of the White Sea the country differs. The Kola 
Peninsula is geographically an extension of the mountainous 
region of Scandinavia. The interior is elevated and the north 
coast high and steep. Tundra in the north and meagre 
orests in the south cover the peninsula. South of the Kola 
Peninsula is the low-lying lake-studded region on the west of 
the White Sea, in reality an eastern extension of the Finnish 
lake plateau. 


Across the plains of Arctic Russia and Siberia many great 
rivers drain from the highland regions in the south to the 
Arctic Ocean. The uniformity in the direction of flow and 
the other characteristics of these rivers find their explanation 
in the relief of the land. The largest rivers are the Ob, 
Yenisei, and Lena with their many tributaries. They all rise 
in the central high plateau and drain through the alpine fore- 
land to the plains across which they flow with sluggish, winding 
courses whose length is dependent on the breadth of the plains. 
Further east, where the highland region trends northward 
towards the coast, the rivers are necessarily shorter, swifter, 
and more direct ; but the Yana, Indigirka, Kolima, and 
Omolon show on a smaller scale most of the characteristics 
of the livers of the west. The narrowness of north-eastern 
Siberia and the proximity of the highlands to the sea cause 
the eastward drainage to flow in short rapid streams. The 
only exception is the Amur, which is comparable to the 
northern rivers. Like them it drains from the high plateau, 
across the alpine foreland and the plains. The chief respect 
in which it differs from the other great Siberian rivers, in 
addition to its Pacific outlet, is that a great part of the courses 


of the main river and the tributaries are on the high plains and 
the plateau. 

The rivers of Arctic Russia, rising in the Urals, are neces- 
sarily shorter than those of western Siberia, but in other 
respects the Northern Dvina and the Pechora are similar to 

»the Ob. 
Importance of the Rivers 
Their long courses over gently sloping plains give the 
Siberian rivers certain characteristics which have had a great 
influence on the history and development of Siberia. In the 
first place, the absence of a very decided slope means that the 
rivers wind a great deal, and have ill-defined watersheds 
which are easily crossed. In the second place, the gentle 
gradient of the plains makes the rivers slow and navigable 
almost to their sources. Lastly, the northward course of 
most of the rivers results in their waters swinging to the 
east, owing to the rotation of the earth, and as the rivers 
erode easily in the soft plain, their right or eastern banks are 
generally high and suitable for settlements, while their left 
or western banks are low, ill-defined, and liable to inundation. 
In their plain courses the rivers are sometimes several miles 
wide, shallow, and studded with sandbanks and islands, 
which are often completely inundated in times of flood. 
Their channels change from year to year, and their depth 
varies with the season. Yet despite all drawbacks the rivers 
form the chief highways of Siberia, and their value is enhanced 
by the vastness of the plains, the dense forests, and the 
swampy tundra, all of Avhich make land travelling difficult 
if not impossible. There are no towns of any importance in 
Arctic Russia and Siberia which are not on navigable water- 
ways. Of all the physical features of Siberia, it is the 
rivers that have had the most progressive influence on the 
country, the Ob, the Irtish, and the Yenisei most, and the 
Lena least of all the great rivers ; but as population spreads 
eastward even the Lena will take its share. Railways will 
never replace waterways : they will make east and west 


routes, but will feed and be fed by the waterways. Railways 
link Siberia to the outer world, and in a measure advertise, it, 
but the rivers do the work of real progress and settlement. 

The chief disadvantage of the Siberian rivers is that most of 
them flow north, and so give access only to the Arctic Ocean, 
and all of them are closed to navigation by ice for more than 
half the year. The northern exits of the Ob, Yenisei, and 
other rivers have so far made them of use principally for 
internal commerce, and militated against their value as gate- 
ways of external trade. But there are signs that this will not 
always remain the case to the same extent (see Vol. II, 
Chapter IV). 

In the southern part of the plains, the region of most value 
for human settlement, the tributaries of the different systems 
closely approach one another, and the basins are so dove- 
tailed that by short and easy portages there is water com- 
munication from one end of Siberia to the other. This facili- 
tated the penetration of Siberia by the Cossacks. Passing 
from the Ob to the Yenisei and Lena they reached the Sea of 
Okhotsk. And it was probably due to their missing the Amur 
and being led further north by the waterways to uninviting 
shores that Russia's entry into the Amur basin was so long 
delayed. Her claims on the Ussuri and the Yellow 7 Sea coast 
came too late to be firmly established before Japan had begun 
to look westward. 

The extent of the Siberian plains is so vast that many parts 
are at a considerable distance from a navigable waterway. 
In the north, where the rivers are fewer, and many run direct 
to the sea, this isolation of certain areas is most marked. 
Some of the northern regions away from rivers or drained 
by small independent streams are almost unknown except to 
wandering tribes. 

Siberia has many lakes, particularly in the west. The 
largest lie in the alpine foreland in the south. Lake Baikal 
rovers an area of nearly 13,200 square miles, and is 400 miles 



long and 18 to 66 miles broad. Lake Zaisan, which lies outside 
Siberia proper, on the course of the Irtish, is 707 square miles 
in area. The Kirghiz and Baraba steppes are dotted with 
small lakes, many with ill-defined margins. On the Selenga 
and Vitim plateaux there are also many small lakes. In the 
ower part of the Amur basin are several larger lakes, including 
Lake Kada and Kizi near the mouth of the Amur, Lake 
Odzhal further up, and Lake Khanka (1,700 square miles) in 
the Ussuri valley, partly within Chinese Manchuria. 


The coast-line of Siberia has a great length, but little of it 
is important, as traffic to and from Siberia is principally 
overland via European Russia. The northern coast-line is 
still imperfectly charted except in the extreme west. It is 
blocked with ice for the greater part of the year, and in no 
month is navigation free from difficulties on account of ice. 
The coast of Russia west of the White Sea is the only part of 
the Russian Arctic coast which is approachable all the year 

The Pacific coast of Siberia is less inhospitable, is faced 
with deeper water, and has several good harbours, but it 
opens to an unproductive hinterland, and is blocked with ice 
for much of the year. These drawbacks decrease progressively 
towards the south. Consequently the most important seaport, 
Vladivostok, lies at the extreme . south of Russian Pacific 

The coasts of Siberia and the off -lying islands are described 
in detail in subsequent chapters in Volumes II and III. 



General characteristics — Temperature — Pressure and winds — Precipita- 
tion — Climate and Agriculture— Climatic Regions — Freezing and thawing 
of rivers of Siberia. 

General Characteristics 

The climate of Siberia is typically continental, and is 
characterized by a great range of temperature between winter 
and summer ; a reversal of pressure conditions, and conse- 
quently of winds, between winter and summer ; and a small 
amount of annual precipitation. In a general way it is com- 
parable with the climate of European Russia, but is more 
extreme in all respects. The winter is long and very cold, 
but generally calm and dry with little cloud to interfere with 
the bright sunshine. The chief populated parts of Siberia lie 
between lat. 50° N. and lat. 60° N., and so receive, roughly 
speaking, as much insolation as the British Isles, but the ex- 
treme north has a certain period of darkness in midwinter. 
January is the coldest month. Snowfall is seldom deep. 

The months of vegetative growth are May to October, with 
a mean temperature of about 56° F. in western Siberia, and 
about 53° to 60° F. in eastern Siberia, but only the three 
months of June, July, and August can really be regarded as 
summer. Most of the precipitation occurs in that period. 
In September the temperatures begin to fall rapidly. Spring 
and autumn are short seasons and are scarcely noticeable 
except in the south. 

The causes of these characteristics are to be found in the 
physical circumstances of the country. It is a compact land 
mass open to the north by gently sloping plains, but closed 
to the south by mountains which serve to a great degree as 


climatic barriers. The moderating influence of the ocean can 
be felt only in the extreme east, where the Dzhugdzhur and 
Stanovoi Mountains lie near the coast, and prevent the oceanic 
influences penetrating far inland. The only ocean to which 
the plains of Siberia lie open is the cold Arctic Ocean, which 
is so encumbered by ice for a great part of the year, that it 
has little beneficial influence on the climate. Lastly, the 
I country rises towards the south, except in the extreme west, 
and so the temperatures are lower than they would otherwise 
be, despite the comparatively low latitudes of that part of 


The mean annual temperature of practically the whole of 
Siberia is below 36° F., and of all, except the extreme south, 
below 32° F., but these figures convey little because of the 
great seasonal range of temperature. The winter temperatures 
are much lower, an4 the summer temperatures slightly higher 
than the latitudes suggest. The greatest extremes occur 
in the north-east between the Aldan and the Arctic Ocean, 
where Verkhoyansk, in lat. 67° N., has a January mean of 

— 60-7° F. and a July mean of 59-7° F., or a range of over 
120° F., probably greater than occurs elsewhere on the face 
of the globe. Other places in eastern Siberia much farther 
south experience very low winter temperatures, such as 
Yakutsk in lat. 62° l'N., which has a January mean of 

— 46-0° F. From this pole of cold in the Yana and Lena 
region winter temperatures increase in all directions. Even 
to the north along the shores of the Arctic Ocean the mid- 
winter temperatures are not so low as at Verkhoyansk. At 
Sagastir in the Lena delta, in lat. 73° 23' N., the mean of 
February, the coldest month, in two years' observations, was 

— 364° F., and the Fram, in her drift across the Arctic Ocean, 
had a January mean no lower than —31-9° F. In the east 
the waters of the Pacific in winter carry comparatively high 
coastal temperatures north as far as the Chukchee Peninsula, 
but the fall westward to the low temperatures of the interior 


is rapid. Thus the January mean of Vladivostok is 4-8° F., 
of Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka 13-8° F., but of Nikolaevsk 
— 10-1° F. To the west and particularly the south-west of the 
pole of cold the increase in winter temperatures is more 
gradual. Yeniseisk has a January mean of — 10-1° F., Tomsk 
of 3-3° F., and Tobolsk of -2-2° F. Even in the Steppe 
provinces the January mean ranges from —4° P. in the north 
to 17-5° F. at Lake Balkhash in about lat. 45° N. A January 
mean above freezing point does not occur north of Tashkent 
and Bokhara near the southern frontier of Asiatic Russia. 
In north-west Siberia the Atlantic influences make themselves 
felt to a small extent ; thus Berezov on the Ob in about lat. 
63° 40' N. has a January mean of —10-6° F., and Arkhangel 
in 64° 32' N. has a January mean of 7-5° F. This influence 
is considered further on p. 34. The freezing of Siberian 
rivers is considered at the end of this chapter, and ice in the 
polar seas in Vol. II, Chapters I and IV, and Vol. Ill, 
Chapter II. 

In summer the highest temperatures occur in the south and 
south-west, and there is a decrease towards the north and 
east coasts, but the distribution of temperature conforms to 
latitude much more than in winter. The shores of the Arctic 
Ocean have a July and August mean generally well above 
freezing point, thus Sagastir in the Lena delta has a July 
mean of 40-3° F., and the Frarn, in the Arctic Ocean, had 
a July mean no lower than 32° F. As far south as the Arctic 
Circle the increase of temperature is comparatively rapid, but 
south of the Arctic Circle it becomes more gradual. In the 
east temperatures as a rule are slightly higher than in cor- 
responding latitudes in the west, but this small difference 
disappears in the south. The extreme south of Siberia has 
a July mean of over 71° F., and in the Steppe provinces the 
July mean goes as high as 80° F. On the east coasts the Pacific 
makes itself felt as a cooling influence, and the July isotherms, 
like the January ones, run roughly parallel with the coast from 
Sakhalin to the mouth of the Anadir. Thus Okhotsk in lat. 
59° 21' N. has a July mean of only 55-2° F., or about 11° F 


lower than Olekminsk, in the interior in much the same lati- 
tude, and Petropavlovsk in lat. 52° 53' N. has an August mean 
of 58*3° compared with 66*9° F. at Yeniseisk on about the same 
parallel. Despite the low summer pressure over Siberia these 
maritime influences do not penetrate far inland. Lake Baikal 
exercises locally the functions of a sea in reducing summer 
temperatures in its vicinity. 

Pressure and Winds 

The low winter temperatures of Siberia result in an ex- 
tensive high-pressure system developing over the country at 
that season. The frozen ocean to the north aids in its de- 
velopment. In January the highest pressure lies SW. of Lake 
Baikal, and extends thence to the NE. and SW. The pressure 
decreases towards the NW. of European Russia, where a 
comparatively low pressure area extends from the Atlantic 
over the Barents Sea, and towards the east, where a wide low 
pressure system lies over the North Pacific. Lake Baikal 
causes a local weakening of pressure in the heart of Siberia. 
As a result of these pressure conditions over Siberia the winter 
winds as a rule are light, generally from the SW. in the north, 
and from the E. and SE. in the south. But calms are charac- 
teristic of a Siberian winter, and consequently the intense cold 
is tolerable, and has comparatively little ill effect on vegeta- 
tion and human activities. In March the centre of high pres- 
sure moves northwards to the Arctic Ocean, and by April the 
pressure over Siberia and the Pacific is almost equalized, while 
in May the rapidly rising temperature results in the formation 
of an extensive low pressure sj^stem over the country, which 
reaches its greatest development in July. The reversal in 
pressure conditions results in inflowing currents of air through- 
out Siberia. In western Siberia westerly and northerly winds 
prevail, in the Taimir region cool northerly winds, and in the 
north-east easterly winds. On the Ussuri and Maritime 
regions there is a more marked monsoon effect owing to the 
elose proximity of the cool ocean to the comparatively warm 


land. Vladivostok has a prevalence of warm south-easterly 
winds during summer. 

As a result of the low pressure the summer winds of Siberia 
are often strong, and gales occur at that season. The moun- 
tains of the south form a fairly effective barrier against 
southerly air currents, but fohn winds, warmed by their 
descent from high altitudes, not infrequently blow in the 
northern valleys of the Altai and Sayansk Mountains. 


Precipitation throughout the whole of Siberia is slight and 
occurs chiefly in summer. It is least in the far north, where 
it is less than 8 ins. in the year, and it increases towards the 
south, reaching its maxima of 18 ins. or over in the south-west 
and the Altai region, and 20 ins. or more in the Amur region. 
In Kamchatka, where the monsoon is well marked, the total 
annual fall is 40 ins. or more. In the Steppe provinces in the 
far south-west the annual precipitation again decreases towards 
the Sea of Aral, where it is under 4 ins. In the Tienshan 
Mountains, however, between the steppes and Chinese territory, 
the annual amount rises to three or four times that figure. 

As regards seasonal distribution, summer, as already stated, 
is the time of most precipitation. On an average 50-55 per 
cent, of the annual amount falls during June, July, and August. 
The daily fall is generally slight. The southern part of the 
Steppe provinces are again an exception, for they receive most 
of their scanty rainfall in winter. The only parts of Siberia 
proper that receive an appreciable amount of winter precipi- 
tation are the Vasuigan swamps and the Ishim steppes in the 
west, and Sakhalin and Kamchatka in the east. The Arctic 
coast, the Transbaikal, and the upper Amur regions are par- 
ticularly dry in winter. 

Cloudiness is a general accompaniment of the rainy season. 

Drought is characteristic of many parts of Siberia, although 
the country is well supplied with great rivers. It must be 
remembered, however, that these rivers have their sources in 


the mountains of the southern frontier lands, where rainfall is 
more abundant than on the plains ; and furthermore, that 
their stoppage by frost for more than half the year, and the 
slight loss they suffer from evaporation, except for a few weeks, 
are factors which combine to conserve their water-supply. 
Lastly, the frozen subsoil of the greater part of Siberia and the 
gentle gradients of the plains, especially in the west, make 
drainage slow, and give the country a wet appearance despite 
the small amount of precipitation that falls. 

Climate and Agriculture 

The influence exercised by the climate on most aspects of 
human activity in Siberia is noticed more particularly in 
the chapters on agriculture and communications, but attention 
may be drawn here to a few more general relations between 
climate and agriculture. 

The high summer temperatures, if they were unaccompanied 
by cloudiness and rainfall, would be disastrous to agriculture. 
As it is the clouds temper the heat, and the rainfall is so evenly 
distributed throughout the summer months that agriculture 
receives the maximum benefit from it. However, a small 
diminution in the annual rainfall is most serious, as there is 
no margin to spare. In the Steppe provinces, where the summer 
rainfall is slight, and the summer temperatures very high, 
agriculture can be practised only along the rivers of the far 
south where irrigation is possible. In the Amur region the 
abundant summer rains favour agriculture while the monsoon 
region, including Kamchatka, has too much rain, in relation 
to its low summer temperatures, for agriculture to flourish. 

The scarcity of snow in winter, throughout most parts of 
Siberia, allows the ground to freeze to great depths even in 
the south of the country. A permanently frozen subsoil 
extends north and east of a line drawn from the Kanin Penin- 
sula, on the White Sea, east by Be.rezov on the Ob to Turuk- 
hansk on the Yenisei, thence south-east to Ilimsk and round 
the north and east of Lake Baikal, and west to the Uryankhai 
region : the lower Amur, Ussuri, and Maritime regions are 



excluded from this area. In summer the surface soil, in the 
area so denned, thaws to certain depths. Tree growth is not 
prevented, as the roots spread out laterally when they reach 
the frozen soil. In fact, some of the finest forests of Siberia 
are in this region. Provided a district has a sufficiently long 
and warm summer, the frozen soil actually assists cereal 
cultivation. The short roots of cereals do not reach the frozen 
subsoil, which on the other hand ensures a supply of water in 
the upper layers, and so saves the crops from disaster in case 
of drought. Of course, over the greater part of northern 
Siberia cereal cultivation is impracticable on account of the 
shortness of the summer and the waterlogged soil. 

In western Siberia, with its greater winter snowfall and its 
higher winter temperatures, the soil does not remain per- 
manently frozen. In other respects, however, the lower winter 
temperatures of eastern Siberia are not more unfavourable to 
agriculture than the higher temperatures of western Siberia, 
for both are too low to allow work on the land in winter. 
Frosts which occur as late as early summer and as early as 
August or September are most injurious to agriculture. In 
some agricultural regions July is the only month in which 
frost never occurs. 

Climatic Regions 

While practically the whole of Siberia experiences the 
same type of climate, the country can be divided into certain 
climatic regions. These regions have no clearly denned 
boundaries, and they merge imperceptibly into one another. 
The differences between their climates is in degree rather 
than in kind. The regions are as follows : 

1. The Arctic region stretching from Lapland through 
Arctic Russia and Siberia to Bering Strait and extending 
southward to about lat. 64° N. in the west, and about lat. 
67° N. in the east. Summer is very short and the temperature 
does not rise above 60° F. Winter is long and cold with 
a January mean of — 10° F. to — 40° F. except in the west. 
Spring and autumn scarcely occur. Rainfall in summer and 


snowfall in winter are both slight. This region has neither 

I) severe a winter climate, nor so warm a summer climate as 
ist-central Siberia (Region 3). 
The climate of the Kola Peninsula and the White Sea 
strict forms a sub-region characterized chiefly by a milder 
inter than the rest of the region. This is due to the warm 
Atlantic drift, the influence of which is felt chiefly on the 
Murman coast but to a lesser extent in the White Sea and 
Kanin region, and rapidly disappears on the mainland farther 
east. The winter climate of Novaya Zemlya, particularly on 
the west side, feels its influence in comparatively high tempera- 
tures and in amount of precipitation, and Franz Josef Land 
may do so in exceptional years. The summer climate of this 
sub-region differs little from that of Arctic Siberia. 

Temperature and 

Precipitation in 

Arctic Siberia 


ion (inches) 

Jan. mean 

July mean Range June- Aug. 

Annual total 


°F. ° F. 

Franz Josef Land —11-5 

36-1 47-6 



Obdorsk —16-4 

56-5 72-9 



Tolsti Nos -28-8 

51-8 80-6 



Turukhansk — 18-7 

59-5 78-2 



Sagastir : Lena delta -36-4 (Feb.) 40-3 76-7 



Fram 1 -31-9 

32-0 63-9 



Temperature and 

Precipitation in Arctic Russia 

Precipitation (inches) 

Jan. mean 

July mean Range June- Aug. 

Annual total 


° F. ° F. 

Kola 11-8 

54-8 43-0 



Arkhangel 7-5 

60-4 (Aug.) 52-9 



Kem 12-4 

58-3 45-9 



Troitsko -Pechorskoe — 1 • 1 

60-2 61-3 



Karmakul: Novaya 2-3 (Feb.) 43-2 40-9 




2. West-central Siberia is the chief populated region of 
Siberia and includes the south part of the Tobolsk Province, 

1 The mean of the temperatures taken in the Fram from October 1893 to 
July 1896 during her drift in the ice from between lat. 77° 30' N. and 
lat. 85° 55' N. 

C 2 


most of the Tomsk Province, the south of the Yeniseisk and 
Irkutsk Provinces, and the northern parts of the Steppe 
provinces. Both winter and summer are warmer than in the 
Arctic region. The January temperature varies from 0° P. 
to -10° F., and the July temperature from 64° F. to 70° F. 
Early morning frosts may occur as late as June or as early as 
September. The mean annual rainfall is about 16 to 20 ins., 
of which more than half falls in the three summer months. 
On account of the high temperatures summer, like winter, 
is a period of clear weather despite the rainfall. 

Temperature and Precipitation in West-Central Siberia 

Precipitation {inches) 

Jan. mean 

July mean 


June- Aug. Annual total 


o p 



— 2-2 




















, 74-8 







































3. East-central Siberia is the largest region and includes most 
of the Yakutsk Province except the extreme north, the north 
of the Irkutsk Province, and the Transbaikal Province. The 
climate is the most extreme in the whole of Siberia, and is 
characterized by the great severity of the winter rather than 
by exceptional warmth in summer. In January the mean 
temperature ranges from —60° F. in the north to —4° F. in 
the south, but some parts of the south on account of their 
considerable elevations have a Januarj^ mean much lower 
than —4° F. The absolute minimum recorded is —90° F. at 
Verkhoyansk. Several months may occur during which the 
temperature remains below — 20° F., but on the other hand 
great ranges may occur in any month except July. July 
has a mean temperature ranging from 60° F. to ^70° F 


Precipitation varies from an annual total of 5 or 6 ins. to 
17 or 18 ins. Snowfall is nowhere heavy and the Transbaikal 
Province is almost snowless. 

Temperature and Precipitation in East-Central Siberia 

Precipitation {inches 

Jan. mean 

July mean 


June- Aug. Annualtotal 








































4. Amur and South-east region. — This has a somewhat 
anomalous climate, for not only is much of the region farther 
south than any other part of Siberia proper, but it is the only 
region that is influenced hj the ocean to any great extent. 
The Amur valley shows climatic features intermediate between 
those of the Transbaikal and the south-east coast region, which 
has January means above zero and in which thaws may occur 
in any month. A few miles inland the continental low 
temperatures occur. Strong winds on the coast may make 
the winter, despite its higher temperatures, much more 
unpleasant than in the colder but calmer interior. Winter 
minima as low as —27° F. have been recorded at Vladivostok. 
July means are about 65° F. to 70° F., decreasing towards 
the north, but summer may be chilly on account of strong 
wet winds. Monsoon influences cause heavy summer rainfall, 
decreasing from the coast inland. As a rule more than half 
the total annual precipitation falls in summer. Dense fogs 
are common on the coast in summer. 

Sakhalin and Kamchatka are extreme examples of this 
type of climate, but their sea-girt position redeems them frorc 
the severity of the continental winter and mitigates the 
summer heat. Rainfall is heavy all the year round. Ayan, 
on the west coast of the Sea of Okhotsk, with a total annual 
fall of 44 J ins. gets the same heavy rainfall, but the northern 
coasts of the Sea of Okhotsk get comparatively little. 


Temperature and Precipitation in the Amur Region and on 
South-east Coast 

Precipitation {inches) 

Jan. mean 

July mean 


June- Aug. 

Annual total 


o ji 






































Olgi Bay 








- Of) 

62-0 (Aug.) 62 -6 





55-2 (Aug.) 71-1 





13-8 (Feb.) 58-3 (Au< 

I.) 72-1 



5. The Steppe region of the south-west has extreme con- 
tinental conditions of climate but with great summer heat 
more marked than severe winter cold. The January means 
range from about zero to 10° F. and the July means from 
70° F. to 80° F. Rainfall is slight at all seasons and much 
of the region is practically a desert. However, the best agri- 
cultural region in Siberia lies where the steppe merges into 
West-central Siberia (Region 2). Strong winds sometimes 
occur in winter with drifting snow and in summer with 
driven sand. Only the northern part of the Steppe region 
is considered in this book. 

Temperature and Precipitation in the Steppe region 

Precipitation {inches) 
Jan. mean July mean Range June-Aug. Annual total 
° F. ° F. ° F. 

Semipalatinsk 0-5 72-6 71-5 2-5 7-5 

Freezing and Thawing of the Rivers of Siberia 

The rivers are frozen over in 5-20 days of frost, the length 
of time varying with the severity of the frost. It is noteworthy 
that the smaller polar rivers, especially those lying between 
the Ob and the Yenisei and the Yenisei and the Lena, freeze 
far more rapidly than these great rivers with their enormous 





basins and warmer waters coming from the south. Rivers 
like the Taz or the Khatanga are unable to attain a high 
temperature during the short summer. The early freezing 
of the rivers between Lake Baikal and the Pacific is probably 
the result of the mountainous character of these regions, where 
cold is felt earlier than in the neighbouring districts. Several 
mall rivers and streams flowing into the Verkhne-Vitim in the 
marshy Bargunsk forest, some of them running through deep 
ravines, remain covered with ice throughout the year. 

The tables here given for the opening and closing of the rivers 
do not correspond with the opening and closing of navigation. 
The rivers are not navigable for at least a week after the 
breaking up of the ice, and often for a fortnight or more before 
the river is actually frozen over. 

The dates given are the average for a varying number of 
years. An estimated date is given in brackets where actual 
figures were unobtainable. The dates according to the Russian 
calendar would be 13 days earlier than those given here. 

Western Siberia 


Average date 

date of 

of breaking 


River. up of ice. 


Atbasar at Atbasar .... May 7 

Ayaguz at Sergiopol 

April 5 

Nov. 27 

Biya at Biisk . 

May 5 

Oct. 23 

Charish at Byeloglazovo . 

» 4 

„ 21 

Chulim at Ust-Chulimskaya 

„ 8 

„ 23 

„ „ Nazarovskoe . 

„ 12 

„ 18 

„ ,, Bogotolskoe 

„ 9 

., 19 

„ „ Achinsk 

„ 8 

„ 23 

„ „ Tutalskoe 

,. 18 

„ 14 

„ „ Ziryanovskoe . 

„ 12 

„ 19 

Irbit at Irbit . 

„ 5 

N 11 

Irtish at Lake Zaisan 

April 30 

» 21 

„ „ Krasnoyarsk 

„ 25 

Dec. 6 

„ „ Ust-Kamenogorsk 

„ 30 

H 2 

„ „ Semipalatinsk . 

„ 30 

Nov. 26 

„ ,, Yamishevskaya . 

May 2 

„ 24 

„ „ Pavlodar . 

„ 6 

» 22 

„ „ Omsk 

„ 14 

n 18 

„ „ Tara 

„ 15 

„ 18 

„ „ Tobolsk . 

„ 14 

„ 20 

„ „ Samarovskoe 

» 28 

„ 19 


Iset at Yekaterinburg 
Ishira at Akmolinsk 

„ „ Petropavlovsk 

„ „ l8him 
Kartisak at Kartisak 
Kiya at Mariinsk . 
Ob at Barnaul 

„ KoHvan 

„ Kolpasbevo . 

„ Narim . 

„ Timskoe 

,, Aleksandrovskoe 

„ Surgut . 

„ Pesk fishing station 

,, Kondinskoe . 

,, Obdorsk 
Om at Kainsk 
„ Omsk 
Pishma at Tahtsa . 
Polui at Obdorsk . 
Pyazina at Vedenskoe 
„ „ Zaostrovskoe 
„ „ mouth . 
Sosva at Berezov . 
Tavda at Nikolsk factory 
Tobol at Svyerinogolovskays 

,, „ Kurgan 

,, ,, Yalutorovsk 

„ „ Blinnikova 

„ „ Tobolsk . 
Tom at Kuznetsk . 

,, ,, Polomoshnaya 

„ „ Tomsk 
Tura at Verkhoture 

,, „ Turinsk 

,, ,, Tyumen 
Ui at Troitsk . 
Uvelka at Troitsk . 

Abakan at Ust-Abakanskoe 

Aldan at Ust-Maiskaya . 

Amga at Sulgachinskskaya 
„ ,, Amginskaya 

Amur at Pokrovskaya 
,, „ Albazin 
„ ., Chernyaeva 



Average date 

date of 

of breaking 


up of ice. 


May 11 

Nov. 12 

„ 5 

„ 17 

» 11 

, 13 

„ 13 

, 14 

„ 3 

, 9 

„ 12 

, 13 

M 8 

„ 23 

., 14 

„ 21 

„ 15 

(Nov. 21) 

„ 22 

Nov. 18 

„ 20 

(Nov. 18) 

„ 26 

Nov. 10 

m 30 

., 15 

„ 24 

„ 16 

„ 28 

„ 16 

.June 16 

., 9 

May 17 

Nov. 14 

», 14 

., 13 

„ 4 

„ 17 

June 1 1 

Oct. 27 
Nov. 1 

July 9 (one year) 

Oct. 14 

. Aug.4 (one year) 

„ 7 

June 3 

Nov. 12 

May 15 

„ 17 

June 10 

, 4 

May 6 

, 21 

„ 8 

. 16 


, 20 


„ 20 
„ 10 
M 9 

„ 13 
„ 13 

H 7 

» 8 

April 27 

„ 14 
, 17 
, 29 
, 25 
, 17 
, 11 
., 17 
, 12 
, 20 

May 1 

, 17 


«■ Siberia 

April 30 

Nov. 30 

May 31 

Oct. 30 

June 2 

(Nov. 30) 

May 29 

Dec. 4 

„ 13 

Nov. 19 

„ 16 

„ 18 

„ 16 

, 26 





Average date 

date of 


of breaking 


up of ice. 


Amur at Blagovyeshchensk 

May 12 

Nov. 25 

„ ., Raddevka 

„ 12 

(Nov. 25) 

„ „ Yekaterino-Nikolskaya 

» io 

Nov. 28 

„ „ Mikhailo-Semenovskaya 

„ 2 

(Dec. 2) 

„ ,, Khabarovsk 

„ 6 

Dec. 7 

„ „ Mariinsk .... 

„ 23 

Nov. 24 

„ „ Nikolaevsk 

June 1 

„ 25 

Anadir at Markovo 

„ 19 

Oct. 27 

Anabar at mouth of River Krilya-Kan 


„ 20 

Angara (Upper Tunguska). 

„ at Irkutsk .... 

April 22 
May 11 

Jan. 25 

,. ,, Usolskoe 

» 8 

„ „ Olonskoe 

„ 11 

» 3 

„ „ Verkhne-Ostrovskaya 

„ 10 

„ 5 

„ Balagansk 

„ 20 

Dec. 20 

„ ., Malishevka 

» 19 

„ 21 

„ ,, Shiveri .... 

., 23 

,, 17 

., „ Ust-Udinskoc 

(May 24) 

., 15 

„ ,, Podvoloshnaya - 

May 27 

„ 13 

„ ,, Bratski-Ostrog 

„ 24 

M 7 

„ ,, Pyani Poroga 

(May 27) 

„ 6 

,, ,, Padunskoe 

June 1 

„ 8 

,, ., Shmanek 

May 26 

„ 9 

„ ,, Voroveva 

(May 26) 

„ 5 

,, ,, Karapchanskoe 

May 26 

Nov. 29 

„ „ Kezhemskoe . 

„ 28 

., 15 

., ,, Boguchanskoe 

„ 26 

„ 18 

,, Pinchuga 

„ 26 

„ 22 

„ ., Ribinskoe 

„ 29 

(Nov. 30) 

Argun at Olochinskoe 

April 26 (1875) 

Nov. 19 

., „ Argunskaya . 

May 16 

„ 21 

„ „ Urovskoe 

„ 17 

„ 20 

,, „ Pokrovskaya 

„ 17 

„ 16 

Balei at Gorokovskoe . . . . 

April 29 

„ 12 

Barguzin at Barguzin 

May 10 

„ 12 

Biliktui at Biliktuiskoe (mouth) 

„ 9 

„ 29 

Biryusa at Biryusa . 

„ 15 

„ 21 

„ ,, Kontorskoe . 

„ 13 

., 27 

Byelaya at Maltinskoe . 

„ 11 

„ 20 

Chikoi at Baikhor . . . . . 

„ 15 

,, 21 

„ „ Kudarinskaya . 

„ 8 

„ 23 

Chima at Cheremkhovskoe 

„ 16 

„ 16 

Gizhiga at Gizhiga . . 

June 7 

„ 2 

Ilga at Znamenskoe . 


„ 14 

Ilim at Nizhne-Ilimsk . 

May 18 

» 9 

Indigirka at Russkoe Usto 

June 29 

Oct. 16 

Ingoda at Titovo . 

May 13 

Nov. 15 

„ „ Chita . 

n 10 

„ 17 

,, ,, Kaidalovo . 

» 14 

(Nov. 19) 




Average date 

date of 

River. of breaking 


itp of ice. 


Ingoda at Knyaze-Beregovaya . . . May 16 

(Nov. 19) 

„ „ Raz-Makhnina 


Nov. 20 

Irkut at Shchinkovskoe . 

, 2 

„ 18 

„ „ Tunkinskoe 

, 11 

, 18 

„ „ Smolenskoe 

, 14 

, 19 

,, „ Irkutsk 

, 14 

, 5 

Iya at Tulunovskoe 

, 15 

, 23 

Kan at Kansk 

, 11 


, 25 

„ ,, Antsiferskoe 

, 12 

, 18 

Khara-Ulakh at mouth 

June 23 (one year) 


Khatanga, near mouth 

June 28 (one year) 

Oct. 12 

,, at Khatangskoe 

July 7 

„ 19 

Khilok at Petrovski Zavod 

May 23 

Nov. 17 


April 30 

Dec. 13 

Kirenga at Kirensk 

May 21 

Nov. 22 

Kolima at Urocheva 

June 6 

Oct. 25 

„ ,, Sredne-Kolimsk 

„ 11 

„ 24 

„ „ Nizhne-Kolimsk 

„ 18 

., 17 

Kukhtui at Okhotsk 

„ 2 

Nov. 29 

Kuta at Ust-Kutskoe 

May 20 


Lena at Kachugskoe 

„ 17 

Nov. 17 

„ „ Verkholensk 

n 1» 

,. 17 

., ,, Ust-Ilginskaya . 

„ 20 

, 13 

,, „ Ust-Orlinskaya . 

„ 18 

, 9 

,, „ Omoloevskaya . 

„ 18 

, 14 

„ ,, Kirensk 

.. 24 

, 4 

,, ,, Vitimsk 

„ 25 

, 21 

,, „ Nyuiskaya 

June 3 

, 19 

„ „ Olekminsk. 

» 1 

, 19 

,, „ Yakutsk . 

„ 10 

, 12 

„ „ Markha 

,, 6 

, 10 

„ „ Bulun 

„ 16 

, 2 

„ „ (mouth) 

July 8 

Oct. 15 

Lower Tunguska, see Angara. 

Maya at Ust-Maiskaya . 

May 29 

Nov. 10 

Nercha at Nerchinsk 

» 14 

„ 9 

Oka at Ziminskoe . 

„ 15 

„ 23 

„ ,, Bratski-Ostrog (mouth) 

„ 23 

„ 19 

Olekma at Troitskoe 

„ 30 

„ 16 

Olenek at mouth 

July 16 (one year) 

Oct. 13 

Onon at Aksha 

May 5 

Nov. 25 

,. ,, Ust-Uya . 

n 12 

„ 20 

Oya at Yermakovskoe 

„ 24 

Penzhina at Penzhina , . 

June 12 (one year) 

Oct. 23 

Pyasina at Vedenskoe 


Nov. 1 

„ „ Zaostrovskoe . 

July 9 (one year) 

Oct. 14 

„ „ mouth 

Aug. 4 (one year) 

„ 7 

Selenga at Novi-Selenginsk 

May 8 

Dec. 1 

„ ,, Verkhne-Udins 

k . 


, 9 






Average date 

date of 


of breaking 


up of ice. 


Shilka at Mitrofanova 

May 10 

Nov. 23 

„ „ Monastirskoe 

„ 17 

„ 17 

„ „ Stryetensk 

„ 11 

„ 21 

„ „ Pokro^skaya 

„ 18 

„ ir, 

Suifun at Razdolnoe . 

April 18 

Dec. 11 

Suputinka at Nikolsk-Ussuriski 

„ 16 

„ 4 

Taimir at mouth .... 

July 23 (one year) 

Sept. 29 

Tuba at Kuraginskoe 

May 7 

Dec. G 

(Lower) Tunguska at Preobrazhenskoe 

„ 21 

Nov. 1 

„ .. „ „ Monastirskoe (mouth) 

June 10 

Oct. 31 

Turukhan at Yanov . 

„ 11 

„ 13 

„ „ River Bayukta mouth . 

„ 11 

„ 21 

„ „ Turukhansk 

„ 6 

Nov. 3 

Uchur at Yarmank 

May 24 


Uda at Udski-Ostrog 

„ 7 

Nov. 25 

Uda at Nizhne-Udinsk . 

,, 14 

,. 17 

„ „ Verkhne-Udinsk . 

„ 13 

,. 25 

Upper Tunguska, see Angara. 

Ussuri at Kozlovskaya . 

April 30 

„ 28 

„ „ Khabarovsk 

May G 

Dec. 8 

Vilyui at Nyurba .... 

June 1 

Oct. 29 

„ „ Vilyuisk .... 

„ 5 

Nov. 2 

Yana at Verkhoyansk 

„ 11 

Oct. 23 

„ „ Kazache .... 

„ 17 

„ 9 

Yenisei at Minusinsk 

May 11 

Nov. 29 

., ,, Abakanskoe . 

„ 11 

Dec. 4 

„ „ Krasnoyarsk . 

„ 12 

„ 5 

,, „ Kazachinskoe 

„ 15 

Nov. 26 

,. „ Yeniseisk 

„ 19 

Dec. 2 

„ ,, Nazimovo 

„ 18 

Nov. 28 

,. „ Verkhne-Imbatskoe 

„ 29 

., 21 

„ ,, Turukhansk 

June 8 

„ 11 

„ ,, Potapovskoe . 

„ 20 

(Nov. 14) 

,, ,, Luzino .... 

n 19 

Nov. 4 

,, „ Selyakino 

., 19 

(Nov. 14) 

„ Tolsti Nos . 

„ 25 

Nov. 3 

,. „ Golchikha 

July 2 

» 5 

,, „ (mouth) .... 

June 23 

Oct. 30 

Zalara at Zalarinskoe 

May 4 

Nov. 15 

Zavitaya at Mikhail ovskaya 

April 25 

n 21 

Zeya at Blagovyeshchensk 

May 11 

„ 26 



The Tundra — Coniferous Forests — The Amur Forests — The Pacific 
Forests — Alpine Vegetation — Wooded Steppes — Kirghiz Steppes — Trans- 
baikal Steppes. # 

The vegetation of Siberia remains in its original state, and 
man has effected few changes. Broadly speaking, there are 
three great types of vegetation, very unequal in the areas 
they cover. In the north along the Arctic Ocean is the 
tundra, while an immense forest covers the rest of Siberia, 
with the exception of the steppe-lands in the south-west. The 
first two of these divisions extend into Arctic Russia. 

The Tundra 

The tundra stretches in a band 20 to 200 miles wide from 
west to east of the Russian Empire along the Arctic shores. 
The southern limit averages about lat. 68° N., but in the 
Pechora and Ob basins the boundary recedes south to about 
the Arctic Circle, in the Khatanga basin it advances to about 
lat. 72° N., and in the far east it trends south to the northern 
end of Kamchatka. All the far north-east from about long. 
160° E. to Bering Strait is covered with tundra. Tundra in an 
impoverished form occurs on the Arctic islands north of 
Russia and Siberia. 

While the term tundra is often used to convey the sense of 
a treeless Arctic plain, it really has reference only to the special 
type of vegetation which is generally found associated with 
Arctic plains. Tundra frequently occurs also on considerable 
elevations, as in the Taimir region, the Chukchee Peninsula, 
or the far east generally. 

The vegetation of the tundra is chiefly grasses, sedges, and 



herbaceous plants, among which arc many bulbous species. 
Cold waterlogged soil and want of humus militate against 
plant life. The only trees are dwarf birches (Betula nana) and 
illows not exceeding a few inches in height and generally 
eeping on the ground. Low bushes of heath, azalea, and 
arbutus also occur, but only in sheltered nooks do the trees 
or bushes grow to any height. Mosses and lichens, including 
the reindeer ' moss ' are numerous, and in the east are the 
principal plants. In general character the tundra is uniform 
from Russia to Bering Strait, and for that matter all round 
the Arctic Ocean, even if the species of plants differ. In level 
places it is more swampy than in the hilly parts, and peat 
forms extensively. It is frozen and snow-covered for 8 or 
9 months in the year. In the summer the surface thaws, but 
the subsoil remains frozen : the tundra for a few weeks is 
bright with flowers and alive with insect life, including mos- 
quitoes, but at that season it is almost impassable to man. 
It is quite useless for agriculture, and has no economic value 
except for reindeer breeding. 

Coniferous Forests 

The coniferous forests or taiga begin gradually where the 
tundra ends. The polar limit of trees is largely determined 
by dry cold winds in winter which are hostile to all tree 
growth. The forests never reach the north coast, but in some 
sheltered river valleys such as those of the Ob, Yenisei, and 
Lena, a few badly developed trees reach the delta, and, gener- 
ally speaking, the rivers seem to carry the forests northward 
into the tundra region. The taiga in one form or another 
extends from the Pacific through Asia, Russia, Finland, and 
Scandinavia, to the Atlantic. Southward it extends to the 
confines of Siberia, where it gives way to the steppes of Mon- 
golia and Russian Central Asia. The forests vary a good deal 
in appearance and species, but are everywhere with a few 
small exceptions either solely or principally coniferous. 

In Arctic Russia the chief species are the Scots pine (Pinus 
sylvestris), the Norway spruce {Abies excelsa), and the silver 


fir (A.pectinata) ; in the Urals the Siberian fir (Abies sibirica), 
and the Siberian larch (Larix sibirica). The deciduous trees 
which occur are oak, elm, ash, maple, and apple. 

In the drier parts of the taiga of western Siberia the 
commonest species are the Siberian fir, the so-called Siberian 
'cedar ', or stone pine (Pinus cembra), the spruce (Picea obovata), 
the silver fir, and the Siberian larch. These are the prevailing 
trees in the Yenisei basin, the basin of the upper Ob, and the 
Altai region. Deciduous trees are rare. In the wetter region 
of the basins of the middle and lower Ob and the lower Irtish 
the taiga is marshy and has thick, impenetrable undergrowth. 
Larch is rare, and the Siberian fir predominates, but there is 
also an admixture of deciduous trees such as birch and aspen. 
Thickets of poplar, alder, and willow fringe the streams, and 
there are some birches. 

Berry bushes are frequent except in the swampy parts, and 
include the wortleberry, bilberry, Arctic bramble, raspberry, 
and red and black currants. 

The Altai Mountains have the same coniferous forests as 
western Siberia, but they are more open and the trees grow 
tall. In places there is undergrowth, but as a general rule it 
is absent. The forests extend to an altitude of about 5,000 ft. 
on the southern and 6,000 ft. on the northern side. On the 
south the flora is richest, and rhododendrons and azaleas 

The southern part of the marshy taiga of the Ob basin is 
known as the Vasuigan swamps. They are most fully deve- 
loped in the northern part of the region between the Ob and 
the Irtish, but also stretch north of the Ob, and consist of 
swamps covered with dense thickets of birch, alder, aspen, 
Siberian cedar, pines, and a few larches. The Russian name 
is unman. They are practically impassable except in winter. 
In time of spring floods these urmans are so much inundated 
that they are termed the Vasuigan Sea. 

The forests of eastern Siberia are very uniform from the 
Yenisei basin eastward to the Amur region and the Stanovoi 
Mountains. In the north they merge gradually through 


a region of gnarled and stunted trees into the tundra. The 
Siberian fir and the eastern larch (Larix daurica) are the 
prevailing species, but the Siberian ' cedar ' (Pinus cembra) 
and the Scots pine also occur. The spruce (Picea obovata) 
and the Norway spruce go as far east as the Lena. On the 
whole, however, the forest of east differs from that of west 
Siberia mainly in less luxuriant growth. Undergrowth is 
not so frequent, and the hilly nature of the country gives 
fewer areas of marshy taiga. Furthermore, the poor rainfall 
and the cold dry winds during the long severe winter do not 
favour tree growth. The forests on the whole are open and 
low. Along the river banks, however, and in more sheltered 
places the trees grow taller and thicker. In the upper Lena 
basin the forests are more of the western type, and the Scots 
pine and the Siberian larch grow to a large size. 

The Amur Forests 

East of Lake Baikal and in the Amur region the vegetation 
changes. The Transbaikal is a transition region between the 
eastern and western floras, but among forest trees all the 
widespread species of the northern taiga are found. In the 
eastern part foliage trees make their appearance. These are 
of species different from, though allied to, those which occur 
in the northern forests of Russia, the oak, the elm, and charac- 
teristic species of the hazel and wild apple. Bushes that are 
typical of Mongolia also make their appearance. 

In the Amur region the divergence of the vegetation from 
that of eastern Siberia in general is more pronounced. The 
flora is characterized by a great variety of forms and by the 
luxuriance of some species. Plants which are typical of China 
and Japan occur, and even representatives of the North 
American flora. In the northern part of the basin the forests 
are like those of eastern Siberia in general, but different 
species appear, until nearer the Amur the forests have an 
entirely different appearance, owing largely to the presence 
of many deciduous trees. The eastern larch, the Siberian fir, 
the Siberian spruce, the Scots pine, and the yew occur as well 


as another species of spruce, the ayan pitch pine (Picea 
ayanensis), and the white cedar or Manchu pine (Pinus mand- 
shurica), which replaces the Pinus cembra of the north and 
west. Among deciduous trees are the oak, elm, lime, maple, 
walnut, ash, aspen, willow, hornbeam, and apple, all of distinct 
eastern species, and the cork tree (Phellodendron amurense). 
In the upper and middle Amur regions deciduous woods are 
commoner than coniferous woods along the river, and wide 
meadows of natural grass land often occur, but in the lower 
Amur region coniferous forests again prevail. 

The Sikhota Alin Range and the Maritime Province generally 
are also forested. In the north the forests are mainly of larch, 
Siberian fir, and white cedar, but in the south deciduous 
trees are more common, and the oak as well as the Siberian 
cedar are the characteristic species. These forests are typical 
of the Ussuri region. 

The Pacific Forests 

The northern taiga continues to the shores of the Okhotsk 
Sea, and occurs in Kamchatka and Sakhalin. The eastern 
larch (Larix daurica) is the prevailing species, but the Siberian 
fir and Siberian cedar are common, mingled with a few birch, 
alders, and shrubs, including the clematis, wild rose, and 
honeysuckle. The herbaceous vegetation is more prominent 
than farther west, and the forests undergo a change in appear- 
ance. The upper limit is at a low altitude, and the trees are 
dwarfed on account of the strong winds. 

In the forests of Kamchatka the trees are more widely 
spaced, and the Siberian fir and the cedar are the commonest 
species, mixed with which are a f^ew deciduous species in- 
cluding the birch, alder, and poplar. Some natural meadows 

Sakhalin, in the south, has forests like Kamchatka : in the 
north the forests rather resemble those of Okhotsk, the eastern 
larch being the chief species. 


Alpine Vegetation 
Alpine vegetation occurs at varying altitudes on the highest 
mountains in eastern Siberia. In the Altai it begins at about 
6,500 ft. ; in the Sayansk Mountains at about the same 
altitude, but in the Dzhugdzhur and Stanovoi Mountains 
and in the Verkhoyansk Mountains at gradually decreasing 
altitudes towards the north until it merges into the Arctic 
tundra. The general aspect of the alpine vegetation is much 
like that of the tundra except in the absence of swamps. 
Between the alpine vegetation and the forests lies a belt of 
rich mountain pasture, comparable with the high pastures of 
the European Alps and containing many of the same species. 

Wooded Steppes 

Steppe land is rare in Siberia proper, and occurs in large 
areas only in the west, where it is found to the south of the 
taiga. The Ural forests and the Vasuigan swamps give way 
to the Ishim and Baraba steppes, which extend in a strip 
about 100 to 200 miles wide from the Ural slopes to the Altai 
region. These are intermediate between the forests to the 
north and the true steppe lands to the south. Firs gradually 
disappear and are replaced by birches, aspens, and willows, 
which occur in clumps and along river banks, in a general 
expanse of rolling grass lands. In the northern part of the 
Ishim and Baraba steppes trees are frequent and swamps and 
urmans occur. Southward the swamps are replaced by 
numerous small lakes, many of which are saline, and trees 
become less frequent until in about lat. 55° N. true steppe 
lands begin. The Siberian Railway runs across the Baraba 
steppes. In the upper Ob basin these steppe lands are wider 
than to the west, and extend from the railway south to 
Semipalatinsk and east to Biisk and Kuznetsk. 

The Ishim and Baraba steppes have a fertile soil consisting 
largely of black earth (chernozem), a kind of loess, rich in 
humus, and are the most valuable agricultural region in Siberia. 
A detached area of wooded steppes lies farther east between 
Achinsk and Minusinsk. 


Kirghiz Steppes 

True steppe lands begin south of the wooded steppe and lie 
outside Siberia proper. They cover the region known generally 
as the Kirghiz steppes. To the north, bordering the Baraba 
steppes, are the feather-grass steppes stretching from the 
Caspian steppe lands of Russia to the Yenisei basin, with 
a breadth of 200 to 270 miles. Trees are rare, and are repre- 
sented only by a few birches, aspens, willows, alders, ashes, and 
poplars in the wetter places. Dwarf bushes, many of them 
thorny, are characteristic, including broom, hawthorn, and 
tamarisk. The herbaceous flora is rich and embraces many 
flowering plants. Feather grass (Stipa) is characteristic. To 
the south the climatic conditions peculiar to this region become 
intensified. Rainfall decreases and summer temperatures 
increase. The change is reflected in the vegetation, which 
assumes a semi-desert appearance as the steppes become more 

The steppe lands of western Siberia are chiefly of value for 
horse and cattle breeding. On account of the want of rainfall 
there is little scope for agriculture. 

Transbaikal Steppes 
In eastern Siberia natural steppe land is rare, for climatic 
conditions are more favourable to the development of forest, 
but in the Transbaikal region between the south of Lake 
Baikal and the River Argun there are considerable areas of 
steppe lands, in general appearance not unlike the mountain 
pastures of the Altai Mountains. This is best developed in 
the valleys. The higher ground of the Yablonoi and other 
ranges is covered with forests. These Transbaikal meadow 
lands are excellent for agriculture. In the south towards the 
frontier of Siberia they pass into the dry steppe lands of 


Animal Life — Fisheries : A. Arctic Russian ; B. Western Siberian ; 
C. Eastern Siberian — Products of Wild Animals 

Animal Life 

The land may be divided into four zones with special 
geographical characteristics, which are differentiated to some 
extent by their fauna. In the north (1) the Arctic or tundra 
zone, with ice or reindeer-moss, has its special group of animals ; 
westward is (2) the taiga belt of coniferous trees, where in the 
depths of the forest there are not many wild animals ; it is 
rather the skirts of the forest and the clearings made by the 
axe or fire to which animals resort, and in such clearings and 
at river fords the trapper finds them ; (3) farther south the 
open steppe has fresh denizens, and finally (4) the high 
mountains of the Altai and Sayansk Ranges introduce a new 
element. No hard and fast line, however, can be drawn 
between these belts, and there is considerable overlapping. 

Special Characteristics of Siberian Fauna 

Among the characteristics of Siberian fauna are to be 
noted : (1) The animals as a rule are of greater size ; some 
varieties are twice as large as the corresponding breeds in 
Europe. (2) White predominates, even among domestic 
animals : many animals, like the ermine, Arctic fox, and 
hare, are white during the winter months. (3) In excep- 
tional circumstances there are huge migrations. Most famous 
are those of the lemmings, which move in vast armies regard- 
less of natural obstacles, swimming estuaries, where they 
become the prey of killer whales or seals, and often plunging 
into the sea. 

d 2 


Land Mammals 

There are found in the south the tiger, panther, snow- 
leopard (Felis irbis), lynx, and two varieties of wild cat. The 
tiger and snow-leopard do not reside north of Lake Balkhash, 
or the River Amur, but occasionally stray beyond. The tiger 
is not infrequently found near Chita and within 120 miles of 
Nikolaevsk, and is often met with in the jungles of Primorsk, 
in which 120 to 150 are shot or poisoned every year. Tigers 
gave great trouble during the construction of the Ussuri Rail- 
way. The natives view the tiger with superstition. The tiger 
is originally a Siberian and Mongolian animal, which has only 
reached India in comparatively recent times ; the Indian 
tiger has much shorter hair than the northern variety. The 
lynx is comparatively common in all mountainous parts of 
Siberia ; its fur is regarded as very valuable. The panther 
is found in the Primorsk forests. The steppe-cat is found in 
the Kirghiz steppes, and there are two varieties of wild cat 
in the Altai. It may be observed that the domestic Siberian 
cat is very fine, rivalling the Persian, but the European climate 
does not agree with it. In Tura black cats are specially bred 
for their fur. 

The wolf is found all over Siberia ; in the tundra it hunts 
the reindeer, and on the steppes the roe. The wolf is driven 
from the reindeer by shouting at it. Often a wooden clapper 
is hung round the neck of the leading reindeer : it makes 
a noise as though of a man chopping wood, and keeps the 
wolves at a distance till they have become habituated to the 
sound. Wolves, when hunting in small packs, are not danger- 
ous to human beings. The solitary wolf is a retiring creature 
and anxious to avoid observation. In the north it is hunted 
not merely to protect the reindeer, but because the fur is 
valuable for caps, mittens, &c. The Alpine wolf is found 
in the Altai. 

The fox is found in many species over the whole country. 
North of lat. 60° is the Arctic fox (Vulpes lagopus), distin- 
guished by its short, blunt ears, long, bushy tail, and very long 
hair in winter. In the summer its upper parts are of a 


brownish colour ; in the winter its whole coat turns white. 
It is found on the continent and on the islands of the Arctic 
Ocean, but is less common in eastern than in ( westernjSiberia. 
It is diminishing in numbers, owing to the reckless way in 
which it is trapped. The cubs are trapped in the burrow. 
All trapping of the fox-cub and sale of the cub-skins should 
be prohibited, nor should it be permitted to catch it when 
young, for its summer coat is of little value. The winter coat 
is exceptionally valuable for its downy fur and its colour. 
One variety of it is the blue fox, so called from its slaty colour, 
which is found chiefly in Arctic Russia and Kamchatka ; it is 
valuable and scarce ; its colour remains the same throughout 
the year, but its hair is longer in winter. The red fox of 
Siberia has a deeper, richer red than our variety, and a much 
more bushy tail. Its skin is esteemed, but not so much as 
that of the blue fox. Another very valuable species is the 
black or silver fox ( V. argentatus) which has black hair with 
silver tips. The bulk of the skins exported by the Koryaks 
are fox skins. In the steppes, ranging from European Russia 
to the Amur, is the steppe-fox or corsac, a sort of repre- 
sentative of the Indian species. Foxes are usually killed 
with clubs or trapped, so as not to spoil the skin : they are 
also poisoned with strychnine. 

The raccoon dog, a native of China and Japan, is found in 
the Amur basin : it is highly valued by the Manchu for its 
winter skin : in summer it is eaten. 

Wild dogs are found in the south up to the snow-line. 

Bears are found throughout Siberia. In the north is found 
the Polar bear (Ursus maritimus) wherever there are seals, 
which it hunts either along the beach or on the sea-ice. It 
arrives on floating ice, and lands on the coast, but does not 
penetrate far inland, and though known to have gone up 
the Gulf of Yenisei as far as Tolsti Nos, it generally does 
not leave the vicinity of sea-ice, for it is really a sea-mammal. 
Its fur is used for floor-rugs and is very durable. The brown 
or Kamchatkan bear (Ursus beringianus) is found across the 
centre of Siberia, wherever there are forests. It is hunted for 


fur and food. In the southern mountain ranges that adjoin 
the steppe district and by the Amur is found a black bear, 
(Ursus tibetanus) and several other species occur in the south. 
The bear is sometimes snared, sometimes hunted. Where 
fish abound, the huntsman waits for him by the rivers. The 
bear cage is a standing feature of the villages of many tribes, 
especially of the Goldi and the Gilyaks. The bear takes part 
in many religious ceremonies (see Chapter V). 

The group of Mustelidae is of great economic value because 
of the trade in their furs. Most important of all is the sable 
(Mustela zibellina), a variety of marten. Its furs were the 
great lure into Siberia of the Russian trader in the sixteenth 
century, and for many years were the form in which yassak 
(tribute) was paid. It dislikes the proximity of human 
habitations and retires more and more to uninhabited parts, 
and has been seriously diminished in numbers. There are, 
however, many in Kamchatka. An order was made by the 
Russian Government that from February 1, 1913, to Octoberl5, 
1916, no sables should be killed nor sable fur sold throughout 
Siberia. It is a difficult animal to hunt. It possesses a down 
which is entirely dark and of bluish tinge, and long, soft, 
glossy, black hair : the finest sable fur is tipped with silver. 
The farther north the sable is found the better is its fur, and 
it varies somewhat in tint in different parts of Siberia. It is 
found up to lat. 68° N. The best sables are found in the 
Vitimskand Olekma regions, and in the neighbourhood of Ner- 
chinsk and the headwaters of the Amgun and Zeya. The 
Sakhalin sables are of little value. White sable found in the 
Barguzin region is very rare and valuable. It is hunted in 
the beginning of winter. The kolonok {Mustela sibirica) is 
used as a substitute for the sable, especially to provide artists' 
' sable ' brushes. At Irbit fair 50,000 skins are sold annually. 
Other animals of the same type are the marten, of which there 
are three varieties in the Altai and upper Yenisei, and the 
cognate, but smaller weasel and polecat. The ermine is 
valuable, and is becoming correspondingly rare in some 
districts : the best ermines come from Ishim and the Baraba 


steppe : the skins are rarely over a foot in length, and they 
are sold in lots of 40 together, known as 'timbers'. The 
ermine is usually trapped. The glutton (or wolverine) is 
a much larger member of the same sub-family. It has 
■powerful teeth, is almost entirely nocturnal in its habits, and 

Is usually active through the winter : it swims streams and 
ascends rough-barked trees in search of food. It inhabits 
i belt across the middle of Siberia excluding the extreme north. 
lb is also found in the north of Sakhalin. The glutton is no 
onger common. The skunk is taken for his fur in large 
numbers in the south of the Tomsk Government and in the 
Amur region. 

The badger is found right across Siberia as far north as 
lat. 53° N. 

The otter is found throughout Siberia up to the Arctic 
Circle and on Sakhalin, but is becoming rare. It is most 
hunted on the Amur for trade with the Manchu and Chinese, 
who value its fur highly. 

The reindeer is most widely spread, being found not only 
in the northern tundras, but among the Soyots in the Sayansk 
Mountains, where there is plenty of lichen. The domesticated 
reindeer has been described elsewhere (see chap. V, p. 103). 
The wild reindeer is hunted for food in winter ; it is also used 
for interbreeding with the domesticated animal. 

In the north is also found the elk, the largest member of 
the family : the flesh is edible, the taste resembling some- 
thing between venison and mutton. Its skin is also valuable ; 
in many years there are 10,000 elk skins in the market of 
Yeniseisk. Its importance along the Amur is shown by its 
name bayu, a Tungus word meaning ' the animal '. 

There are several varieties of the American wapiti (Cervus 
canadensis) in the south of the country. The number of 
wapiti has been greatly diminished by the sale of their horns 
to the Chinese, and the Russian Government have issued 
a prohibition which forbids their being shot on the Russian 
side of the frontier. The wapiti is distinguished by the great 
size of the fourth tine of the antlers. 


Closely akin to the wapiti is the maral deer, which is 
domesticated in the Kirghiz country, the Altai, the middle 
Amur, and the Ussuri region : it is bred for the sake of its 
horns, which are sawn off when in the velvet, to produce from 
them a powder called panty, in high request among the Chinese 
for medicinal purposes. Western physicians believe that it 
has no medicinal value, but merely quickens the heart's 
action. It is sold for 30s. a lb. Another member of the family 
that produces an article of value is the musk-deer {Moschus 
moschiferus), which is hunted in the Altai, Sayansk, and Amur 
regions, and in Sakhalin, for the sake of the musk obtained 
from it. It is caught in winter, when the more vigorous 
climate makes it migrate from its ordinary home to something 
more accessible to hunters. Its flesh is eaten, its skin used for 
clothing, and its thin leg bones made into arrow-heads. 

The roebuck is represented by two species, Capreoluspygargus 
in the upper Yenisei and Altai region, and C. manchuricus, 
which migrates from Manchuria into the Amur region in spring. 
It supplies abundant food. The skin and horns are sold to the 

Other members of the family found in Siberia are the 
common stag, rock-deer, spotted deer, and siku. The last 
named is found in the island of Askold near Vladivostock. 
There are several kinds of big-horn, but the Ovis poll of the 
Pamirs, which is sometimes said to be found in the Tienshan, 
is never really found so far north. The real 0. ammon, or 
argali, is found in the Altai ; its wrinkled horns curl so 
much that they often make more than a complete circle. It 
lives amid the forest on mountains between 3,000 and 4,000 ft. 
high, and is difficult to secure. Its chief enemy, the wolf, 
hunts it to the neighbourhood of its lair, so that the young 
may have a share. Travellers who refer to argali among the 
lower heights of the Kirghiz region probably mean O. sairensis 
or some closely allied species. Between the Lena and Indigirka 
0. borealis occurs, and in Kamchatka 0. nivicola. The saiga 
antelope (Saiga tatarica) extends as far east as long. 92° E., 
and another species is found in the Primorsk region. A gazelle 



(Gazella gutturosa) is found in the steppes near Kosh-Agach: 
is usually in colour of a light fawn, with white limbs, 
eeks, underparts, sides, and rump ; its tail is short, with 
brown tip, and it has no dark face-markings, like most 
gazelles. Among the Altai there are a large but rapidly 
diminishing number of ibex (Capra sibirica), gradually being 
driven into the more remote valleys. It has very long horns, 
which are sold to the Chinese for the same purpose as those 
of the maral. The Kalmuks are very wasteful in hunting, and 
unless checked will exterminate the game of their region 
There are wild oxen and wild goats among the Sayansk 

The musk ox (Ovibos moscatus) is rare, if not extinct, in 
Siberia. It has been reported from Sakhalin. 

The prickly hog is found in the southern portion of the 
steppe region and the steppe lands of the east. The wild 
boar occurs in the east mostly in Transbaikal and the Amur 

The wild ass (kulan) is found upon the Kirghiz steppe : 
farther south, but outside the limits of this book, is found the 
famous Prezhevalski horse. 

There are numerous species of rodents. Most important 
from the commercial point of view are the squirrels, the sale 
of whose skins is enormous : only the skins of Russian and 
Siberian squirrels are marketable. They are used for a great 
variety of articles, such as gloves, hoods, and carriage-aprons. 
The squirrels are of various colours, of which the black are 
most esteemed. Black squirrels eat mushrooms, brown 
squirrels cedar-cones, red squirrels hazel-nuts. Squirrels are 
found throughout south Siberia, especially in the forests, but 
there are none in Kamchatka. Besides the common squirrel 
there are to be found striped squirrels and flying squirrels. 
In the centre of Siberia the squirrel is much hunted. In 
the Transbaikal Province three million are killed annually. 
Squirrels are usually shot with guns having a small bore, 
and with bullets the size of a pea, so as to injure the skin as 
little as possible. The marmot found in the south, though 


much more frequently beyond the frontier, is of commercial 
value, because of the export of its skin to Europe, where it 
is sold as imitation sable. A variety of the marmot is the 
tarabagan, which is common in Transbaikal. Related to 
the marmot is the bobac (Arctomys bobac) which lives in the 
plains and stony hill lands, and the suslik, alike the friend 
and enemy of man, the former by reason of its flesh, which is 
esteemed a delicacy by the dwellers in the steppes, and the 
latter because its energetic burrowings make it a pest to 
agriculturists. It has been found specially injurious along 
the Lena. It is sometimes called the pouched marmot, because 
of its big cheek-pouches. Both it and the lemming (Lemmus 
obensis) store their food in winter. The lemming is said to 
protect its food against the depredations of other animals by 
covering it with poisonous plants. In eastern Siberia the 
Kamchadals remove the creature's store of grain and roots, 
but replace it with caviar or remains of fish, so that a regular 
trade is instituted between man and beast. The migrations 
of the lemming have been already noted (p. 51). The beaver 
is only found west of the River Yenisei, in the streams of 
north and mid-Siberia ; but it has grown very rare, and at 
the present time has almost disappeared. It has a commercial 
value not only for its skin, but for the castoreum (beaver's 
cod) obtained from it. The ush-kan, or Siberian hare, is 
spread over the country : it is grey in the summer and white 
during the winter, and has very long hair. About 1,000,000 
or 1,200,000 skins are sold a year, half of them at Irbit. The 
Siberian peasants neglect it as a means of food, and only 
unwillingly eat its flesh. The polar pika hare comes as far 
south as lat. 47° N. Other rodents are the vole, hamster 
(west of the Ob), jerboa (south of the Steppes), and hairy- 
nosed porcupine (at greater altitudes). The rat is a great pest, 
but its activities are somewhat restricted by building store- 
houses on poles. 

The sea-mammals of Arctic Russia and western Siberia 
are not nearly so important as in eastern Siberia. The seals 


found are the true seals (Phocidae), in both west and east, but 
the sea-bears or fur-seals (Otaridae) only occur in the east . True 
seals have a great commercial value by reason of their hides, 
their blubber, and the oil produced from their fat. But they 
are extremely destructive of the fish : in many places where the 
seal appears, the fisherman abandons his occupation, knowing 
that his task is useless on the arrival of the kozhya (' leather :) 
as he calls him. In places like the Kola Peninsula they ought 
to be kept down much more energetically, for the protection 
of the fishing industry. At Ponoi the seal-hunting in March 
and April is very profitable. In the Kara Sea there are no 
seals ; so that region is without attraction for polar bears. 
Seals ascend the Amur as far as Eri in about lat. 51° N. In 
Lake Baikal and up the Selenga is found a distinct species, 
P. baicalensis, which is hunted for its skin. 

The fur seal (Otaria ursiria) occurs in great numbers in parts 
of the northern Pacific, including the Commander Islands, 
Robben Island, and the Pribilov Islands ; there at the end of 
May or early in June the males arrive : then about the middle 
of June arrive the females, and give birth to their young. The 
pups are black when born, but in August have a fresh coat 
of grey fur. The promiscuous killing of fur seals when in 
calf out at sea led to the protracted disputes in connexion 
with the Bering Sea arbitration. The sea lion (0. Stelleri) 
visits the Pacific coasts in autumn. No fur seals occur in the 
Arctic Ocean. 

The walrus is found in the islands of the Arctic Ocean, 
and at various points west of the Lena (between which and 
the Bering Strait it is never found), e. g. Ponoi and the 
Kara Sea. It no longer occurs in the Sea of Okhotsk. It is 
differentiated from fur-seals by the absence of external ears, 
by the structure of the teeth, including the presence of tusks, 
and by its more substantial build. It is hunted for the sake 
of its blubber, its hide, from which are manufactured harness 
and sole leather, and its tusks, the ivory of which, however, 
is far less valuable than elephant ivory. Its breeding season 
is from April to June. 


The chase of the bowhead or right whale has decayed in 
the Sea of Okhotsk and Bering Sea. 

The finner whale (Balaepoptera) is found along the coasts 
of Arctic Russia and eastern Siberia. The whale ' fisheries ' 
of Finmark are active, but those of the Kola Peninsula are 
feeble. There were two for a time at Port Vladimir and Ara 
Bay, but they closed for lack of capital. During their short 
period of activity they killed 300 whales. A well-developed 
whale fishery might do great business, but it might have to 
face the antipathy of fishermen in other parts of the coast on 
the same grounds as those on which the Norwegian fishermen 
attacked the whalers. These reasons were, first, the whales 
were thought to drive away the Greenland seal which preys on 
fish, and secondly because whales feed on capelan, a kind of 
salmon which pursues the cod inshore, so that the destruction 
of whales reduces the number of cod. The beluga or white 
whale (Delphinapterus leucas) is found in these waters. Its 
skin is cut into broad strips and sold to the Samoyedes and 
Yuraks for reindeer harness. 


There are said to be 285 species of birds in the whole of 
Siberia, few of which are unknown in Europe. The chief 
line of demarcation of species is thought to be the watershed 
between the Yenisei and Lena, but so much of the country 
east of that boundary is unexplored that it is difficult to bo 
very precise on the subject. Seebohm, in his book The Birds 
of Siberia, has given a great deal of information about the 
birds of Arctic Russia and the valley of the Yenisei. 

The Arctic zone has few permanent residents : only the 
ptarmigan, snow-bunting, raven, snow-owl, and Icelandic 
falcon are found there always, but with the return of summer 
the tundra becomes full of bird-life, and it is the breeding- 
place of a vast variety of birds from the beginning of May. 
They are bountifully provided by nature with berries that 
have been frozen throughout the winter, and with swarms 
of mosquitoes. The commonest of these summer visitants 


seemed to Seebohm to be the Asiatic golden plover. But few 
birds stay longer than the beginning of winter, when they 
migrate to the belt of coniferous taiga further south. 

Edible birds. — It is difficult to say what a native of Siberia 
will or will not eat, and it is probable that his taste in the 
flesh of birds is as catholic as in other forms of food. It is 
enough, therefore, to mention the most important of the birds 
that can be eaten. Duck of various kinds, including a 
long-tailed species, are common over all Siberia, especially 
in the lake district north of the Kirghiz and Baraba 
steppes ; around Narim they assemble at different lakes : 
they are frightened from one to another, their way being 
netted in advance. They are thus caught and then killed 
by having their necks bitten through. They are found in 
great numbers along the lower course of all the Siberian 
rivers. Geese are found in multitudes as far north as the 
mouth of the Yenisei. The goose falls an easy prey in the 
moulting season, when it cannot fly. Among other edible 
birds are ptarmigan, willow-grouse or kuropatka, swans, 
hazelgrouse, pronounced as especially delicate eating, caper- 
cailzie, blackcock, partridge, and heathcock. In the neigh- 
bourhood of Biisk and Novo-Nikolaevsk, woodcock, hazelhen 
(or ryabchik), and quails are common from May to the end 
of August, and during the threshing season 5,000 birds, 
mostly quails, are netted. In hunting the capercailzie a 
barking dog is used, which has an irritating effect on the 
bird ; the hunter then gets in a shot, while its attention is 
distracted. The same practice is adopted in hunting the elk. 

Birds valuable for plumage. — Most valuable of all is the 
eider duck, found along the shores of Arctic Russia, by 
reason of the down that is obtained from it. But the dwellers 
along the Pomorski coast are killing off these ducks for the sake 
of their flesh and pillaging their nests for eggs. Grebes are of 
economic value : crested grebes used to be shot in great 
numbers in the Tyukalinsk district in order to make muffs. 
Magpies, which are particularly frequent in the steppe district 
west of the Ural, are of value for the feathers, which are 


exported. A thousand are taken annually in the Biisk 

The pigeon for religious reasons is never molested among 
the Russians. The seagull enjoys a like immunity for the 
same reason among the Samoyedes. 


A. Aectic Russian Fisheries 

Speaking generally, there are three main kinds of fishing 
on the north coast of Arctic Russia : (1) In the open sea there 
is fishing for cod, haddock, flatfish, and wolf-fish. (2) Along 
the coast there is fishing for herring and navaga. (3) Up the 
rivers there is fishing for salmon and certain freshwater fish, 
including also salmon-fishing along the coast. There is some 
hunting of sea-mammals also along this coast. 

Murman Coast 

Cod. — The main fishing here is for cod (Gadus morrhua), 
the yearly average catch being 10,000,000. The fishing-season 
is from the end of March till the end of August. As the cod 
comes from Norway, the fishing begins on the west coast 
first and works eastward. It employs the local inhabitants, 
and about 3,000 men from the districts of Kem and Onega. 
The cod-fishing is done in small sailing boats (shnyaks), which 
are worked by four men and a boy, who has to roll up and 
dry the nets : this crew is called an artel, the name applied 
to what corresponds to a trade union in Russia. The men 
who come from the White Sea are exploited by procruters or 
factorists, who supply them with their vessel, their tackle and 
supplies for themselves and their families, in return for which 
they are entitled to one-third of the catch, but the value of 
the goods supplied is deducted when accounts are squared, 
and as the valuer both of these goods and of the fish caught 
is the procruter himself, the fisherman finds himself more and 
more in his power. 

The course of the warm Atlantic waters varies, so that the 


voyages are regulated by the existing currents. Usually 
the fish are at something between seven and twenty miles 
from the shore and at a depth of from 120 to 150 fathoms. One 

I way of fishing is with lines, 180 fathoms long, but this needs 
a great deal of muscular exertion, and is not adopted except 
by poor fishermen. The other and more effective method is 
to use ' gartlins ' or great lines (yarns), which are sometimes 
five miles long, made of rope of the thickness of the little finger 
with finer ropes of from 3 ft. 6 in. to 4 ft. 8 in. in length 
attached to it at intervals of about 2 ft. 4 in. About 5,000 
hooks are attached to a yarns, and these are baited with 
capelan (a small oily fish like a smelt), or sand-eels, sand worms, 
or the inside of crabs. The yarns is lowered to the bottom of the 
sea and taken up again after six hours. Over 1,200,000 hooks 
are used each year on the Murman coast. 

Other fish caught on this coast are turbot (Rhombus maximus) , 
haddock (Gadus aeglefinus), coal-fish or saith (Gadus virens), 
wolf -fish (Anarrhichas lupus), flat-fish (Pleuronectidae) , comber 
or sea-perch (Serranus cabrilla), eelpout (Lota vulgaris). 
The herring-fishing on this coast is practically disregarded, 
though herrings are numerous. The Greenland shark is the 
inveterate foe of the whale, and whales have been captured 
which show traces of combat with this relentless enemy. 
Sharks come in pursuit of cod, and can be caught with a line 
on the Murman coast, but despite the value of shark-liver and 
the oil extracted to adulterate cod-liver oil, the fishing is only 
casual, and not properly developed. From those sharks 
whose skin is not too rough is made shagreen for smoothing 
or polishing wood. The shark is never eaten, on the ground 
that it is a great eater of human flesh itself ; and it is an 
enemy to the fisherman, because it despoils his yarns. At 
certain places on the west coast of the Murman are fat -melting 
works for the fat of sharks and stock-fish. 

Prices of fish. — The price per pud of fish on the Murman 
in the last decade of the nineteenth century was as follows : 
cod lOd. to 2s. Id., haddock 2\d. to 10d., wolf-fish 3fd. to 8fd., 
coal-fish 2\d. to l\d. y turbot 2s. 3d. to 2s. §d. The prices for 


fish products were cod-liver Is. 3d. to 2s. Qd., shark-liver, 
haddock-liver, and coal-fish-liver 10c?. to Is. 5|cZ. Another 
fish product is the fish-guano made of the discarded portions 
of fish, especially torn and dried fish-heads. The total value 
of the Murman fishery in 1897 was £48,158. 

Winter employment of fishermen. — An auxiliary trade for the 
fisherman to carry on during winter is carpentering, e. g. they 
manufacture the wooden packing-cases in which the fish are 
exported, and find it very remunerative. 

There are government salt depots along this coast. 

White Sea 

The main fishing is for salmon, herring, and navaga, which 
is done in home waters, and is more especially the work of 
the old men, women, and children, while the more enterprising 
and active men do deep-sea fishing for cod or go seal-hunting, 
starting out for these employments early in the spring. 

Salmon. — The salmon-fishing lasts from the middle of May 
till the beginning of November, but the best salmon are 
caught in August and September when the salmon come up 
the rivers to spawn. The fishing is done at the estuaries of 
the bigger rivers by means of dragnets, trammel-nets, &c. 
Higher up the rivers it is done by zahots or weir traps : close 
to Kem is a zabor (a sort of fence trap) made of logs embedded 
in the bottom, in which a large net (morda) is inserted. Salmon 
of large size (about 22 lb.) are thus caught. The spring-catch 
is for local consumption, the fish caught early in the year 
having less taste than the others ; the autumn catch is sold 
to dealers. 

Herring are caught along the Pomorski coast mostly from 
the end of June till October, but the fishing continues in 
winter. To the north-west of Kem the best fisheries are Kan- 
dalaksha, Keret, Kovda, and Knyaz Bay, from which about 
25,000,000 fish are obtained in the year. The fish are salted 
and shipped to Arkhangel in barrels of 27 lbs., but these are 
so badly put together that the fish deteriorates and only 
realizes a low price. To the south-east of Kem the principal 


fisheries are Soroka, Shizhnaya (from each of which the annual 
catch is about 5,000,000), Sukhona volok (with an annual catch 
of 2,000,000), Virma with an annual catch of 1,500,000), and 
Sumski (with an annual catch of 1,000,000). The herring is 
caught with poke-nets, sweep or drag-nets, &c. The whole 
catch is sold on the spot to dealers, the fish being either frozen 
or smoked. The usual price is Is. to 3s. per 1,000. A fish 
loses its value if it is frozen and then salted ; so the winter- 
catch is eaten fresh. In the neighbourhood of Sumski there 
are several smoke-drying sheds, in which 5,000,000 herrings 
are annually smoked. 

Navaga. — The navaga (Gadus navaga) is a fish allied to the 
cod. The season for fishing is from November to January, 
and it is done through holes in the ice. It is so easy that it 
is an occupation usually left to the children. The navaga is 
caught chiefly by the inhabitants of Kolezhma, Sumski, Shuya, 
and Nyukhcha. Those caught at the first two are about twice 
the size of those caught at Shuya, and average about 1 lb. 
14 oz. A load of good navaga, consisting of about 4,000, costs 
from 16s. to £2. In February the navaga, having spawned, 
becomes lank and tasteless : in March it migrates. 

Other White Sea fish are cod, flat-fish, wolf-fish, gwyniad 
(Coregonus lavaretus), but these are not an object of export- 
trade, but are only for local consumption. There are two fish 
also, the lumpsucker (Gyclopterus lumpus) and father lasher 
(Cottus scorpius), which are not eaten by the inhabitants, 
but dried and given as food to the cattle. 

The Karelians, especially at Pongamskaya and Keret, hunt 
marine animals. 

Gulf of Mezen to Kara Sea 

The fishing along this coast is of much less importance. 
The industry is almost entirely in the hands of the Samoyedes. 
Owing to the absence of markets they deliver their catch to 
monopolists. The Russian dealers supply tackle, &c. to the 
natives, whom they organize in small groups on a system that 
closely resembles that of the procruters with the Pomors. 


Marine animals are hunted, when they are brought down on 
floating ice by the northerly winds : among these are the 
walrus, Greenland seal, sea-hare (Phoca leporina), and white 
whale (Delphinapterus leucas). The seal blubber is sent to 
Arkhangel, thence to Russian and foreign markets. Along the 
Gulf of Mezen during August and September there is fishing 
for salmon and nyelma, and in November and December for 
navaga. The waters round Kanin Peninsula and Kolguev 
Island were for a long time untouched, despite their vast 
supply of cod and flat-fish, but lately very large plaice have 
been caught by British trawlers and other foreign boats. 
About a hundred steam trawlers in these waters make an 
aggregate haul of 40,000 tons, chiefly plaice. 

Lake and River Fish 

In 1897 there were caught 1,192 tons of lake and river 
fish, valued at £13,112. The chief districts in which they 
were caught were Pechora, Kem, and Kola, the best salmon 
being found in the Northern Dvina, Onega, Mezen, Pechora, 
and Varzuga. In Lake Imandra in the Kola Peninsula 
Engelhard caught salmon, grayling (Coregonus thymallus), 
gwyniad, trout, and salmon-trout. The nyelma (Coregonus 
leucichthys), a salmon with white flesh, is found in these lakes 
and rivers. 

In the Pechora are found the peliad (Coregonus peled), 
the omul (C. omul), a salmon with white flesh, of primary 
importance farther east, and the chir (C. nasutus). The 
Coregonus is the characteristic salmon of the Arctic Ocean, 
as the Oncorhynchus is of the Pacific. In the Dvina is the 
sterlet (Acipenser ruthenus), a smaller member of the sturgeon 
tribe and the one which penetrates highest up the rivers. 

B. Western Siberian Fisheries 
The Ob Basin 
The basin of the Ob constitutes the whole of western 
Siberia, and all the fishing centres are either along its waters 



or along those of its confluents or the lakes from which its 
waters are fed. The chief are on the lower waters of the Ob 
and Irtish, on Lake Zaisan and the upper Irtish, and on Lake 
Chani near Kainsk, the fishery of which is stimulated by the 
immediate contiguity of the Siberian Railway. There are other 
places where there is fishing, as in Lake Marka-Kul and the 
akes of the Kirghiz steppes, but in these it is a secondary 

d subordinate occupation of the inhabitants. In the Ob 
2 species of fish are known, the most abundant families being 
the Cyprinidae with 15 species, and the Salmonidae with 12 ; 
among others are three species of sturgeon (the sterlet, the 
sturio, and the ossetr), two of perch, two of cod, and pike is 
extraordinarily abundant. There are but slight differences 
between the fish of the Ob and the Irtish. 

Regions of the Ob basin. — Varpakhov divides the Ob basin 
into three regions — lower, middle, and upper — differentiated 
to some extent by their species of fish. 

The first region includes the Ob estuary and extends as far 
as Berezov. The characteristic conditions of the region are 
masses of water with a very slow current or stationary, and 
abundance of ' sands ', i. e. stretches of clear water with sandy 
or rocky bottoms. The chief fish of this part are chub, navaga, 
seld {C. merki), a member of the salmon tribe with white flesh, 
salmon, pidchian (or sig), chir, muksun, a broad fish with large 
bright scales and small head, sturgeon, pike, roach, gremille, 
peliad, and eelpout, some of these being common to the whole 

The second region extends from Berezov to about lat. 54° N., 
up both the Ob and the Irtish and their tributaries, coinciding 
approximately with the wooded territory. The type of fish 
found especially in this region demonstrates the abundance 
of lake and marsh, e.g. crucian carp, tench, sterlet, and other 
fish. Salmon and muksun are found in great numbers here 
as well. 

In the third or upper region which extends from lat. 54° N. to 
the sources of the Ob and its confluents the characteristic fish 
include trout, grayling, seld, Gobio fluviatilis . and taimen(Salmo 

E 2 


fluviatilis) which gives its name to many villages. The nyelma, 
a very popular fish in Siberia, is the commonest in the 
whole river. Of course there are no very marked boundaries 
between these three zones : sometimes, for instance, sterlet, 
which is characteristic of the central region, descends to the 
Ob estuary, or grayling, a typical fish of the mountain streams, 
is found in the tributaries of the lower Ob. Some fish may 
be regarded as local, which always inhabit the river, while 
others, which are migrants, visit it from the Gulf of Ob or cross 
from one locality to another. 

Migration of fish. — The movement of great masses of fish 
takes place everywhere after the ice breaks, especially about 
the middle of May. These movements do not take place 
simultaneously with the various kinds of fish. The first 
arrival is the peliad, followed in order by the muksun, the 
nyelma, the pidchian, the chir, the sturgeon, the eelpout, and 
last of all the seld. They ascend slowly, making about 40 miles 
a day. Many of them (the muksun, nyelma, and peliad) 
make for the sori (shallow backwaters which dry up in hot 
weather), and then when in early autumn there is later abun- 
dance of water they move up the river and spawn in its 
higher waters and in those of its upper tributaries. Others, 
such as the pidchian and chir, spawn in the lower Ob, and 
the seld only comes into the lower Ob and its tributaries. 
The sterlet spawns in flooded meadows. The sturgeon goes 
up to the upper Ob and spawns on the way : in the autumn 
some sturgeons remain in the river, but more go down to the 
sea where they are caught in great numbers by the natives 
in the Gulf of Taz. Sometimes the grampus or killer- whale 
arrives in the lower Ob : its appearance is the signal for the 
fish to leave the river and go up the backwaters, where an 
occasional grampus will follow them. 

The Zamor. — There is one special phenomenon of the 
Ob that deserves attention, as it has a great influence upon 
the fishing. It is called the dur or zamor, or ' the dying of the 
water ' . In December and January the accumulation of 
protoxide of iron brought down by the tributaries of the lower 


Ob that flow through tundra and marsh, coming over the lower 
surface of the ice, proves fatal to the existence of all living 
things. It gives the water an unpleasant taste and smell. 
The process goes on unequally, first in the shallow parts, and 
reaches from the middle of the stream to the shores. In 
rapid and deep places the zamor does not exist, and the fish 
do not die. The instinct of the fish makes them escape before 
the zamor can destroy them. Pike, roach, and nalim go into 
tributaries where the waters are not so corrupted, sturgeon 
and sterlet to the mouth of the Ob, and some of the sterlet 
up the Irtish. The zamor gradually extends up and down the 
river, and by the end of the winter the central and lower 
regions of the Ob are lifeless. On the Irtish this phenomenon 
is found up to the village of Semeika. The effect upon the 
fishing is obvious ; the great mass-movements of the fish 
towards the sea are obstructed by fish-dams. Instinct forbids 
retreat up stream, and multitudes of fish are accordingly 

Methods of capture. — The favourite instrument of capture 
is called gimga. It is like the morda of European Russia, but 
larger. It is made of long thin twigs, on a substructure, 
which costs at least £100 to erect, so that it is a method 
only within the reach of those who are possessed of capital. 
The fish trying to escape the massive obstructions come to 
the gaps where the gimga is set, and fall ready victims. The 
gimga is so close-woven that even quite small fish are caught 
by it. The number of gimgas at various points of the river 
differs in accordance with the breadth from 40 to 100. The 
part where the majority of them is set is between Berezov 
and Obdorsk ; 500,000 fish are sometimes caught in one day. 
In the lower course of the Irtish and in the Ob near its estuary 
instead of gimgas, there are set with the obstructions cherdaks : 
these are four-cornered sacks made of netting, attached to 
long poles by means of which they are lowered and raised. 
These methods are employed in the summer fishing as well as 
in winter, and on a smaller scale by local fishermen when the fish 
are leaving the sori. A good deal of fishing is done with nets : 


big nets 4,200 ft. long and 70 ft. high, or half -nets more simply 
constructed and of smaller dimensions. These are employed 
generally on the ' sands \ In the neighbourhood of Tobolsk 
there are 120 of these ' sands '. The big traders employ the 
first kind, the half -nets being used by those of humbler means. 
A large amount of ice-fishing is done especially in the reaches of 
the Irtish between Tobolsk and Semeika (where the zamor 
stops). The ice is divided into sections, and snares armed 
with hooks are let into the water through the holes that are 
made in it. In some places 800,000 hooks are let down, but 
the catch is not great, varying from ten to four hundred puds. 
The fishing industry.— About 10,000 men take part in the 
fishing industry of the Ob. The poorest are the impoverished 
Samoyedes and Ostyaks, men who have lost their reindeer 
and taken to fishing : an epidemic among the reindeer always 
adds to the number of fishermen. But, with the exception 
of the Reindeer Samoyedes and a few fur-hunting Ostyaks. 
all the inhabitants of the uncultivated north along the Ob are 
engaged in fishing. The great centre of the industry is Tobolsk 
on the Irtish, which is the head-quarters of the six big fishing 
firms that erect the largest dams. Every spring, as soon as 
the ice clears, the summer expedition proceeds down the river 
from Tobolsk. They give pay on an average of about 30 roubles 
a month and provide certain supplies : at the beginning of 
October they return to Tobolsk. About 1,000,000 puds 
(15,000 tons) are taken annually, of the value of between 
£300,000 and £400,000. 50,000 puds are taken annually to 
Irbit fair in February from the middle Ob. Farther north 
the winter catch is kept till the summer and sold to the summer- 
fishing expeditions. Fish are transported by sledge, a weight 
of about 20 puds to each sledge, the transport industry necessi- 
tating the existence of a race of winter-dwellers along the Ob. 
Sterlets are caught in winter near Tobolsk, fetching 5-8 
roubles the pud in that city. Good sturgeon are caught on 
the river, weighing 8 puds and containing half a pud of caviar. 
The sturgeons of the Ob are much bigger than those of the 
Irtish. Pike are sometimes so numerous on the Ob that they 


are sold for only 12 kopeks, but this is not surprising as a 
company of 50 or 60 can take in one season up to 7,000 puds. 

1350,000 puds of fish are carried annually on the Siberian Rail- 
way, 200,000 on the Perm-Tyumen Railway. 
Centres of fishing industry. — Besides on the Irtish below 
Tobolsk, and the Ob below the mouth of the Tom, fishing is 
one of the chief occupations of the population along the Rivers 
Om, Tom, and Chulim, and higher up it is of importance to 
a. large number of inhabitants of the Altai district, not only 
on the Ob between Barnaul and Biisk, but on tributaries like 
the Kondom in the Kuznetsk district. No statistics are 
furnished, but there is a generally prevalent local belief that 
the fish are on the decrease. On the Ob itself it has been 
calculated that the fish exported from the different regions 
are as follows : Obdorsk 300,000 puds, Berezov 150,000, 
Samarovskoe 75,000, Surgut 90,000, Narim 90,000. 

Fish products. — Several canning factories have been 
erected. Caviar is obtained from the roe, and isinglass from 
the bladder of the sturgeon. Besides these two important 
products, the sturgeon is of importance for its fat, dried 
sturgeon being fatter than smoked salmon, and for its spinal 
cord, which is eaten raw or else dried and cut into small 
pieces and used for baked fishcakes with fish inside and dough 
outside, while it furnishes a constituent in selanka, a soup 
which is the Russian national dish. Poziom is prepared from 
sterlet, sirok, and muksun: the fish is split open, freed from 
bones, salted, dried in the air and slightly smoked. In summer 
the fish taken from the Ob are dried and salted, in winter 
they are frozen. 

Lake fisheries in Western Siberia 

Lake Zaisan is the centre of a considerable fishing industry, 
partly in the hands of Cossacks, partly in the hands of Kirghiz. 
Carp, trout, nyelma, and sterlet are found, but roach and 
perch are more numerous. The fishing begins at the end of 
April and continues till the end of August. The height of the 
fishing season is June, after which the fish begin to go down 


the Irtish. Pavlodar on the Irtish is in a district where fishing 
is very important. 

Lake Chani. — This lake has the great advantage of being 
served by the Siberian Railway. About 100,000 puds arc 
exported annually. The principal fish are pike and crucian. 

The River Ural is practically outside the sphere of this 
book, but is important for its protected fishery, especially 
for the sturgeon. 

C. Eastern Siberian Fisheries 

The principal fisheries in eastern Siberia are the lower 
Yenisei ; Lake Baikal and the rivers that flow into it ; the 
Lena and other rivers of the Yakutsk Government ; the 
Okhotsk and Kamchatka fisheries of the Pacific ; the Amur 
and its estuary ; and the coast of the Ussuri Province (south- 
west fishery). 

The Yenisei Basin 

As an important industry the fishing of the Yenisei is 
practically concentrated in its lower waters. The fish most 
sought in these waters are the sturgeon, the sterlet, the 
nyelma, the omul, the muksun, the seld, the gwyniad, the 
chir, and the sig. Most of these make long migrations up and 
down the river to spawn ; many sturgeons stay in the deep 
pools of the river, at any rate during the winter ; they begin 
to go up the Yenisei when the ice melts, at the end of May 
or the beginning of June. A good many fish stay in the estuary 
throughout the winter ; some fish, like the sterlet and chir, 
keep to the river all the year, and are never found at its 
mouth. Altogether, about fifteen varieties are caught for 
the purposes of trade, including the sturgeon, sterlet, muksun, 
nyelma, and omul. So that the caviar may retain its quality, 
the sturgeon is often kept alive in floating fish-tanks ; it is 
said that the omul which migrate are fatter than those 
which stay in the estuary all the year. 

The fishing is done partly by Yenisei-Samoyedes, Yuraks, 
and some Dolgans, Tungus, and Ostyaks, partly by non- 
resident Russians. The work of the natives is exploited by 


Russian buyers, who, as a rule, do not give money, but goods 
on credit, a system which leads the fisherman into perpetual 
debt. The Russians who live along the river fall victims to it 
as well as the natives. The natives, who own fishing-places, 
usually let them cheap and act as fishermen. Primitive 
methods are employed in preparing the fish, with little regard 
for cleanliness, so that a rotten smell is a constant accompani- 
ment of fish from the Turukhansk district ; the preparation of 
caviar is equally primitive. 

Every year, at the beginning of June, boats containing the 
necessities for the season are rowed or towed down the 
river, reaching Dudinka in about three or four weeks, 
dropping fishermen and supplies at the river-stations as 
they go. The traders buy some of the natives' winter catch, 
and reach Yeniseisk again at the beginning of August. After 
ten days they start on their second voyage, and about the 
beginning of October the expedition is back again at Yeniseisk 
with the men and the summer catch. The first voyage only 
brings back strongly salted fish, the second brings back what 
is less strongly salted ; some of it is dried. What they cannot 
carry is often brought by sledge to Krasnoyarsk during the 
winter. For salting, as on the Ob, steppe salt is used ; the 
proportion is usually about 180 lb. of salt to 700 lb. of fish. 

In the rest of the Yeniseisk Government the fish trade 
only amounts to about £5,000 a year. About 3,000 puds 
reach Minusinsk from the upper Yenisei. Lake Bozhe, in 
the Achinsk region, also produces a certain amount of fish. 
But most of the fishing is only for local consumption. 

The fishing in the Yenisei is done principally by seines, 
with, as a rule, five men to a net. The big employers of 
labour usually make combinations of two or three, and have 
a tug ; they completely control the smaller workers. The 
rich men have nets of nearly 20,000 ft. in length, but the 
natives have to be content with much smaller nets. Besides 
nets, there are also dams of interlaced branches stretched 
across the river. In the winter some fish, especially sturgeon, 
omul, and mukswi, are caught under the ice. Hunger and 


curiosity make them fall at this period ready victims to 
any bait. 

Absence of good communications has greatly restricted the 
fish-industry of the Yenisei. There is no canning, and the 
attempt to send frozen fish by rail to Russia has been a failure, 
despite the demand for such supplies. The present amount 
exported south annually is about 175,000 puds, including 
about 155,000 puds of summer-salted fish and 20,000 puds 
of winter-salted fish, but the market is almost entirely confined 
to the Yeniseisk Government, with Yeniseisk and, to a lesser 
extent, Krasnoyarsk as centres of the trade, though a few of 
the fish from this region go as far as Tomsk and Irkutsk. The 
best fish are found a long way north, and it is only possible 
to make one voyage within the year for the summer catch. 

About 175,000 puds are caught in the Yenisei and the 
shallow tundra lakes by the local population and used for the 
needs of themselves and their dogs. The annual value of 
the Yenisei fisheries, including export fish, is about £80,000. 

Lake Baikal 

The Baikal fishing-region includes Lake Baikal itself, the 
lower reaches of the rivers that feed it, especially the Barguzin, 
the Selenga, and the Upper Angara, and the lagoon-like 
lakes along the shores of Lake Baikal, termed sori. The 
principal fish of these waters are the sturgeon (which is found 
in the Lower Angara and Lake Baikal, and fished for in the 
latter during the winter through the ice), the omul, the chir, 
the gwiniad, the grayling, the roach, the crucian, and the 
burbot. There is also a mysterious fish, the golomyanka 
{Comephorus baicalensis), which lives only in the profoundest 
depths of this lake, and is about 10£ ins. long. In Lake 
Baikal there is further a species of seal (Phoca baicalensis). In 
other parts of the Transbaikal Government are found, besides 
most of the fish of Lake Baikal, pike, carp, tench, and silurus. 
In Lake Frolikha, near the north extremity of Lake Baikal 
and communicating with it by a river of the same name, is 
a special kind of trout, not known elsewhere (Salmo erythrcas). 


The main fishing in the Baikal fisheries is for the omul, 
of which 500,000 are taken yearly of the value of about 
£20,000. During the winter the omul keeps in the deepest 
waters of the lake ; in the spring it begins to approach the 
shores and enter the small inlets along them; towards 
September it moves in masses to the estuaries, up which it 
goes to spawn ; it ascends the Upper Angara for more than 
60 miles : at this period the ' running-catch ' is made. Later, 
when it has spawned, it goes back to the lake, and the 
' swimming-catch ' takes place. When the lake is frozen, 
it is caught under the ice by nets let down to a depth of 100 
to 150 fathoms. The winter catch is put on the market 
frozen, the summer and autumn catch salted. 

The implements for taking fish in Lake Baikal greatly 
vary, nets and ' bagnets ' being used where the fishing is on 
a large scale. Bagnetting is carried out by small companies ; 
there are also net associations, where each member supplies 
a settled number of fishing-nets and ropes. 

Lena, and Kolima 

The Lena and Kolima region is of very little industrial 
importance owing to the absence of means of communication, 
but none the less a great deal of fishing goes on to satisfy the 
needs of the inhabitants. For most of them fish is the staple 
food, and has the same importance that grain has for the 
inhabitants of agricultural districts. The natives eat chiefly 
small fish. Thus 94 per cent, of the inhabitants of the 
Yakutsk district are engaged in fishing, and it is the occupa- 
tion of 92 per cent, in the Kolima district, and 87 per cent, in 
the Verkhoyansk district, and of 68 per cent, in the Olekminsk 
district. It is possible that the Kolima fishers will find an 
outside market for their fish, as since 1911 there has been 
regular steamer communication with Vladivostok. The 
amount of the catch of the district, including the adjoin- 
ing lakes, is estimated at from 4,000 to 5,600 puds. At 
present the only market for the Lena fishery is the mining 


The chief fish are sturgeon, sterlet, mukswi, nydma, 
gwyniad, chir, bass, common gremille, dace, pike, and burbot. 
A great number of herrings are found in the estuaries of both 
the Lena and the Kolima. Crucian carp is specially common. 
Fishing is most vigorous on the lower reaches of both rivers. 
About 25,000 puds are exported annually by steamer from 
Bulun up the Lena to Yakutsk. The Aldan, with its tributary, 
the Maya, is also prolific in fish. The fishing on the Kolima is 
vigorous, so far as the conditions allow, but the river is 
frozen for 268 days in the year. The fishing on that river 
is mostly done by companies, but, even though clubbing to- 
gether, they have very insufficient implements. At ninety-nine 
fishing-stations along its lower waters there were only fifteen 
entire nets in all, the remaining fishermen contenting them- 
selves with broken parts. The methods of preparation are 
as inadequate as the fishing-tackle ; caviar is hardly prepared, 
and is often thrown away, as the natives do not eat it. 
Frozen fish is frequently eaten like cheese, cut into thin slices 
and called stroganin. The sturgeons are very large, often 
weighing as much as 200 lb. The coast dwellers hunt for 
seals, especially in March and April. 

Okhotsk- Kamclbatka 

This district in the Pacific extends from Udskaya Bay, 
where the River Uda flows into the sea (in lat. 55° N.) to the 
mouth of the River Anadir (in lat. 65° N.), taking in the coasts 
of the peninsula of Kamchatka and of the Commander Islands. 
It is divided into a western and an eastern section by Cape 
Lopatka, the southern point of Kamchatka. 

In the Pacific the conditions of the industry and the species 
of fish are entirely changed. Instead of a Russian monopoly 
there is keen competition with Japan. In fact the Japanese 
had got the fishing trade almost entirely into their hands, 
before the Fishing Convention was made in 1907, which gave 
them free rights of fishing, except in certain specified bays and 
river mouths. Even now a great deal of fishing is under 
Japanese control, and the market for the fish is largely 


Japanese. In the western section only one bay (Penzhina 
Bay) is excluded from the convention ; in the 1,850 miles of 
coast in the eastern section sixteen bays and gulfs are excluded, 
but yet in only one of these (Avacha Bay) is the industry 
carried on by Russian enterprise. Several areas have been 
closed to all fishing since 1913 in order to conserve the fisheries. 
These include the mouths of the Ulya, Urak, Okhota, Kukhtui, 
Kola, Tau, Yana, Arman, Ola, Yama, Takhyama, Nayakhan, 
Gizhiga, Tigil, Bolshaya, Osernaya, Kamchatka and other 

The fish of the Pacific differ largely from those of the 
Arctic Ocean and of the rivers that flow into it. The charac- 
teristic Salmonidae are not Coregoni, but Oncorhynchi. The 
principal salmons of the Pacific that ascend the rivers that 
flow into it are six in number. (1) The chavucha (S. orientalis), 
confined to Kamchatka and the Sea of Okhotsk, the largest of the 
tribe, but a fish that has not yet established itself in European 
markets ; it is a fine fish with good flavour, averages 15 to 20 
lb., and is often six feet long. It supplies the best caviar, 
experiments showing that the best comes from fish over 
four years old. (2) The goltsi (8. collaris), a kind of sea trout, 
ascends the rivers to the head waters, and returns in the 
following spring. (3) The keta (Oncorhynchus lagocephalus) or 
dog-salmon, is the commonest of all in these waters, except in 
south Kamchatka (where the chavucha is most prevalent) ; 
it weighs nine or more pounds ; a man can catch 1,000 in a day. 
It is of inestimable importance to the natives ; its skin pro- 
vides them with sails, dress, and boots ; it is preserved in 
various manners, and forms the chief food of the inhabitants 
of Primorsk ; its caviar, which is of a pale red colour, is 
now regarded as of value, though previously it was thrown 
away. The keta is a very timorous fish and avoids clear water : 
it comes in great shoals. (4) The gorbusha (O. proteus), the 
humpbacked or Alaskan pink salmon, is less choice : it weighs 
from four to eight pounds, or occasionally even ten. It is 
found in all the rivers. (5) The krasnaya (O. lycoodon) or red 
salmon is smaller than the chavucha and appears a fortnight 

\\ $ V\ U , \ \ 



fcbfl |0W to Vbvt:\,Ns:^k .;r.a svv.v :,> lY:r\w*d direct Rw 

K\ I II' ICI.T! \ . II IIM'II. 70 

tupply, feed them elv< the earliest arrivali being plaice, 
haddock, and bad and hat kan 

i .iii- nori b ooa it oi 01 ad (2) the 

lummer fishing, which In >ply the vrintei need i oi then 

• I',;/;'. ;ui'l ' h ' • ; r j < -i v « - 1 Mil in mid .Jurm 1/1 I 


Gommercial fl thin a Japan* For fche 

wii'.i' put up i" auction 

i at Vladivo itok \>y i he l>< pai i merit <>i l><'' 
Hie total amount realized in 1013 w$m £31,419 , the amount 
three jrear bet (X) The number oi Ku 

i bat bake "|> the fishing in 1010 only 

.) per cent, irere taken by them, In 1012 22 per ooni in 
1013 there irere 141 

only 'i d u In I ii- ea tern Kamchal ka 1 1 

mo i. oi which ! '■ 30 R 

tal Ion "' Kamchal ka. 'i hen tendency 

tnohatka to look for better on tomi i than the Japi 
who beat down pricei Bnt fche coat oi freight mal 
almo • Impo Ible for the fish oi on to compet* 

oi the Amur. Again all labour and iupplii 
\» brought from Vladivostok Not only li fche distance from 
Japan considerably mi, Mm workmen .u<- paid u-hh, 

their food oo I le and I hi , ha i &ppty oi schooneri 

and iteamei for handling the fish, The only oommun i 
uninhabifc d d 

i during a i hoi I lailin by ( he limited 

iteam oi the Volunteer i''i« »■< and all net* and material 

to I"- brought a loi Hw Japan* «• fl ihei mi n 

ecure abundant lupplfr from n 

Canning bai been itarted In Kamchatka iritb iom< 
the work li mostly done by Japanese firms. The chief 
oanni d tin Ossi tu pa, Bol ihfl 'alana, 

and Kolpokara riven Cn 1013 the total output oi tinned 
salmon In Kamohatl fourdozen lib. fcins. 

Tim .:•.(« hi of Mm :.;i.Iimoii li ..In / y in Okhof.k ;uid K:un 

< hal l..i. < :.n b< realized from the numbers oi fl li taken In 1013, 


which were : Okhotsk, 500,000 ; western Kamchatka, 
33,500,000 ; eastern Kamchatka, 11,800,000. The herring 
catch in these districts totalled about 188,000. 

Besides this salmon in 1913 there were prepared in Okhotsk 
213 tons of caviar, in western Kamchatka 1,134 tons, in 
eastern Kamchatka 1,034 tons. 

There are various ways of preparing fish : one, called 
yukola, of a crude nature, is only applied to fish intended 
for the consumption of natives or dogs ; the form of fish- 
preserve which is most exported is called balylc. It is 
exported from Okhotsk to Vladivostok and Yakutsk, and 
from Petropavlovsk and Ust-Kamchatsk to San Francisco 
and Vladivostok. 

Seal Fisheries of Commander Islands 
One special marine industry is the hunting of the sea bear 
or fur seal, which supplies ' sealskin \ The centre of this, as 
of the cod industry, is the Commander Islands, where the 
creatures congregate in the summer. In the course of the 
last twenty-five years they have greatly diminished owing 
to immoderate fishing in the open sea. In 1890 no less than 
55,435 reached the market, but in 1911 only 200. In 1912 
a prohibition against killing them for the next five years 
came into force. During this period there is every reason to 
hope that the breed will have been regenerated and restored, 
especially as hunting these animals in the open sea has been 
prohibited by the Washington International Commission for 
fifteen years. With the renascence of the sea bear it is hoped 
that the Commander Islands will recover in prosperity and 


Fishing districts. — There are three fishing districts in this 
region : (1) Nikolaevsk, the most important, comprises the 
lower Amur for 200 miles above its mouth, the Amgun, the 
Amur estuary, about 130 miles of the coast of Sakhalin, and 
about 860 miles of the coast of the Okhotsk Sea from Udskaya 


Bay to the Amur estuary. (2) Mariinsk, from Troitskoe 
to Sofiisk, a reach of about 263 miles. (3) Khabarovsk, 
above the last district as far as Khabarovsk, a reach of about 
107 miles. 

In the Nikolaevsk district there are three kinds of fishing 
villages : fish-catching stations, salting stations which buy 
but do not catch fish, and villages which do some fishing 
incidentally. Leaving out of account the many villages in 
the last category, in 1913 there were 111 fishing stations leased 
from the Government at a total annual rental of £32,000 and 
28 fishing stations leased from the municipality of Nikolaevsk at 
a total annual rental of £17,000. In the Mariinsk district there 
were 27 and in the Khabarovsk district 3 commercial fishing 
stations. In the two latter districts all the stations were 
Russian. Other stations were given free of charge to certain 
villages in order to ensure their food supply. The fisheries of 
the River Ussuri are entirely in the hands of Cossacks or 
natives who fish for their own needs with primitive methods. 
Pronge, lying south of the Amur mouth, used to have an im- 
portant fish trade with Germany. The Volga caviar merchants 
have a station in this region which was reported to be very 

Japanese fishing. — Up to 1899 the Japanese invasion so 
completely monopolized the fishing industry that hardly any- 
thing remained over for the Russian population or Empire ; in 
that year foreigners were prohibited from fishing in the Amur 
and its estuary, and Russians were forbidden to use foreign 
labour. Under these conditions development of the fishing 
industry became possible, and it has been especially stimulated 
since the Russo-Japanese War. In 1907 a convention was con- 
cluded with Japan by which the Japanese were admitted to 
the same fishing rights as the Russians. From this conven- 
tion all rivers and thirty-four bays in the Far East fisheries 
were exempted, and it is practically in these alone that Russian 
fishing prospers. In the Amur estuary foreigners are allowed 
to prepare but not to catch the fish. The chief buyers 
in the Amur fishery were originally the Japanese, but they 


have lost their market by trying to force down prices. The 
catch in 1910 was so good that it enabled the trade to send 
great quantities to Europe, and the business thus inaugurated 
has continued. In 1912 the fish trade with Japan from the 
Maritime Province was practically extinct. 

Amur fishery. — The conditions of the fishing industry on 
the Amur have greatly improved. The fact that better 
prices now obtain ought to stop the excessive fishing that 
formerly prevailed, but probably stringent regulations will 
have to be introduced. In the remoter districts the rule that 
fish may not be caught within two versts of a river mouth 
is constantly disregarded. A fish hatchery is to be established 
at Nikolaevsk by the Government, which is alive to the danger 
of the rapid exhaustion of the fisheries under the present 
method. With a view to encouraging local consumption the 
experiment is to be made of giving fish a prominent place in 
the rations of the troops. The Amur stations are being 
equipped according to the latest plans with refrigerators, 
electric -light installation, and all processes that make for 

Salmon. — The most important fishery is for salmon, and 
then for sturgeon. Besides the fish specially named there 
are about fifty varieties of less commercial value. The salmon 
of the Amur are the keta, which enters the river from the 
end of June, and the gorbusha, which ascends the river at 
intervals from the middle of August to the middle of September, 
often going up-stream 1,200 miles. On the lower Amur the 
average weight of the spring keta is 4 lb., of the autumn 
keta 9 lb., and of the gorbusJia 2£ lb. In 1913 the catch on 
the lower Amur, exclusive of the Nikolaevsk district, was 
about 1,340,000 keta.. In the Nikolaevsk district the catch 
was about 18,260,000 keta, and 7,500,000 gortmslm. 

In 1913 there were sent 46,031 tons of fish and fish products 
by rail via Khabarovsk. The trade has become so much 
stimulated that special storage-houses are to be built at 
Moscow and Vladivostok. The fish for the Russian market is 
either frozen or salted, and sent in 25-pnd barrels ; for Japan 


it is dry-salted in the Japanese way, without barrels. There 
is a rapidly growing trade in salmon-caviar, especially the roe 
of the keta, which used formerly to be thrown to the dogs, but 
3,652 tons of it were in 1912 carried by railway in refrigerators. 
There is some trade also in train-oil made of fishes' livers, 
about 10,000 gallons being secured in a month and a half. 
There is only one canning factory in this region : in 1913 it 
turned out about 100,000 tins of salmon, each of 1 lb. 

Scientific investigation has revealed a good many facts 
about the Amur salmon. It is a migratory fish, that lives 
in the sea and ascends the river only at spawning-time. The 
young fish make their way down to the sea and live there 
for three or four years, after which thej T assemble in large 
shoals, and ascend the river against the current for more 
than 1,200 miles. In their life as river fish their colour and 
appearance change. After spawning they become weakened 
and are swept down by the current, while so many die of 
exhaustion that there is a general belief that all fish that enter 
the river succumb. 

Sturgeon. — Sturgeon-fishing on the Amur is mainly a winter 
industry, but there is serious danger of the fish being exter- 
minated. The Government have had little success in attempt- 
ing to limit the season from June 15 to the melting of the 
ice and to prevent the use of drag-nets. Fishing goes on all 
through the year, even during the spawning season. Large 
specimens are already scarce, the average being from 30 to 
40 lb. In winter they are caught by hooks through holes in 
the ice in large pools, which the natives know them to frequent. 
The consumption is almost entirely local. In 1913 the total 
catch was 147 tons. The Government imposes a tax of ftf. 
per lb. The better kind is caught in the neighbourhood of 
Khabarovsk, though the sturgeon is much more plentiful near 
Nikolaevsk. A certain amount of caviar is shipped to 
Vladivostok. One special form of sturgeon on the Amur is 
the halug, or white sturgeon. 

F 2 



The fishing in Sakhalin is losing importance. Here besides 
the keta and gorbusha, which swarm in August, herring is 
a common fish ; it is used almost entirely as fish-manure, 
which is exported to Japan. In 1913, a bad year for herring, 
the total catch in the fourteen stations in Russian Sakhalin 
was about 200,000 salmon and 4| million herring. About 
274 tons of herring manure and an equal amount of salted 
salmon were exported to Japan. Smaller quantities of fish 
and caviar went to Russia. The Gilyaks engage in herring- 
fishing, when the keta season is over. To the Gilyak fish is the 
principal form of food. His supply for winter is almost 
exhausted by December, though there is fishing for dorse in 
Baikal Bay during the winter. Then comes a time of great 
hardship. In April the seals appear, but before their arrival 
comes the haddock, which is hooked through holes in the ice. 
Then come herring and halibut (Pleuronectes hippoglossus), 
which sometimes weigh more than 100 lb. Trout (Salmo 
fario) appears in the rivers, but the next great catch is the ide 
(Idus melanotus), which is caught by baskets in the rivers. 
The smelts (Osmerus eperlanus) are so numerous that they are 
often ladled out of the water. An ally to the Gilyak fisherman 
is the grampus or killer-whale, a voracious animal which drives 
fishes and seals before it up the rivers or on to the coast ; in 
return for these services the natives give it a friendly reception 
if they meet it alive, and inter its body with due rites if it is 
washed ashore. 

The Gilyak have a special type of weir or dam for catching 
fish ; this, as well as a Japanese weir, is constantly used 
also on the mainland. 

The South-west 

The sea-coast of the Ussuri district of Primorsk is known 
as the south-west region. It extends from the boundary of 
Korea to Cape Lazarev at the south of the Amur estuary. 
In this region seven bays, including Peter the Great and 
Imperatorskaya Bays, are excluded from the convention. 


North of Peter the Great Bay the industry is principally in 
Japanese hands. The reservation of the fishing-rights in this 
bay for Russians has put an end to Chinese and Korean 
trade, and the proximity of a good market in Vladivostok 
has greatly helped Russian industry. Steam-trawling is 
beginning in this bay, the first trawler being British-built. 
Fish caught in this way are salted. 

The chief fish caught in these waters is herring ; it 
approaches the shores and enters Peter the Great Bay about 
the middle of November, comes again through the end of 
December, January, and the beginning of February, and pays 
a final visit in April. The principal herring fisheries, however, 
are north of Imperatorskaya Bay. Besides the herring, the 
keta and gorbusha are also obtained. Other fish, like the 
smelt, flounder, mackerel, and dorse, are of much less economic 
importance. Counting the three most important fish, the 
catch in 1913 was about 41,000,000 herring, 658,000 gorbusha, 
and 138,000 keta. 

An important fishery is that for trepang (Holothuria edulis), 
the Chinese name for the Golden Horn of Vladivostok, applied 
to the beche-de-mer or sea-slug. It is found on rocky bottoms 
along the whole coast of thePrimorsk, but is especially common 
in the neighbourhood of Peter the Great Bay. The Chinese 
spear or net it. There are two seasons, from the end of March 
to June and from mid-September to October. The average 
catch for a fisherman is 120 a day. They weigh about six 
pounds when dried. In 1913 about 9 tons were exported 
from Vladivostok. 

In 1913 about 125 tons of dried crabs went to China and 
Korea. There is a considerable market for shrimps. 

Products of Wild Animals 


Fur is the oldest established trade of Siberia. Originally 

the lure of the invaders, it was for many years the form in 

which the subject tribes paid their tribute. Siberia is extremely 


rich in fur-bearing animals, but with the growth of civiliza- 
tion and the destruction of the forests, they are being driven 
further and further north, the number of many breeds is 
being seriously diminished, and rigid restrictions on their 
capture have to be introduced, if they are to survive. As 
a rule, the colder the climate, the better is the quality and 
colour of the coat. The lower the latitude, the less silky is 
the fur, and the hair is apt to be ' harsh ' in the tropics, 
lacking in softness and depth. 

In western Siberia the most important parts for fur-bearing 
animals are the Berezov, Surgut, Turinsk andObdorsk districts 
in Tobolsk, and the Narim district of Tomsk. In certain 
parts of Tobolsk Government hunting is the chief occupation 
of a large section of the population, providing them with the 
means of existence, e. g. along the Rivers Vakh and Yugan ; 
for the inhabitants of the valleys of the Rivers Agan and 
Torum-Yugan it is as important as fishing, and for those 
of the lower Ob it often supplements fishing and reindeer- 
breeding. In the Narim district of Tomsk it is one of the 
main industries, as much as fishing, for the Ostyaks, and is 
an addition to the industries carried on by Russian settlers. 
In the Kirghiz steppes there is hunting, but it is principally 
for sport ; it is only the poor who trade with the proceeds 
of the chase, though they do secure a certain number of 
wolves, foxes, and ermines. 

The chief fur animals found in western Siberia are, in the 
Tobolsk Government, the squirrel, fox, ermine, and hare, 
and in the Berezov tundra the Arctic fox; less common are 
the kolonok, sable (diminishing greatly in the Turinsk 
district), brown bear, wolf, and, beyond Obdorsk, the polar 
bear, on the shores of the Arctic Ocean; in Tomsk, of most 
importance are the squirrel, kolonok, sable (greatly decreasing), 
fox, ermine, bear, hare, and skunk. 

In Yeniseisk hunting is the chief occupation in the north, 
and also in the Turukhansk and Angara districts. Elsewhere 
it is only supplementary. The deer, the Arctic fox, the hare 
and the squirrel arc the chief animals. The others are rare 


and small. In the Irkutsk Province the natives are nearly 
all trappers. The Kirensk and Verkholensk districts were 
once well stocked with animals, but they are rapidly declin- 
ing. Nearly all the fur animals are found here, the squirrel 
being the commonest. In Yakutsk hunting is still the principal 
occupation of nearly all the inhabitants, but the decrease 
in the game is rapidly making it secondary to fishing. How- 
ever, fur is still the basis of barter with the natives. In the 
Amur and Maritime Provinces hunting is the chief means 
of livelihood for the natives, but in the Amur Province not 
for the Cossacks. In the Amur the natives are chiefly occupied 
with hunting the sable for its fur, while the Russians mainly 
hunt the roebuck for its leather. A number of valuable 
animals are found in the Maritime Province. (For a detailed 
description of the fur animals, see pp. 52-59.) 

The great centre of the trade in Siberia is the Irbit fair, 
though the December fair at Ishim also has importance, 
especially for the sale of squirrels' fur. But besides these 
big centres there are many smaller fairs arranged at the 
close of the hunting season, which is usually the early winter. 
The hunting is often done by co-operative groups, who share 
profits. The fur trader often deals with these people, directly 
trafficking in things like tea, sugar, tobacco, gunpowder, and 
manufactured goods,which are indispensable to the inhabitants, 
for the furs which they have come to buy. The smaller fairs 
are losing their importance. But the fur trader is often the 
agent of a bigger man, and the fur passes from hand to hand 
till it reaches one of the great fairs. The agents of the larger 
firms, principally German and English, push farther and 
farther inland. 

It is difficult to give accurate figures of the number of 
animals killed, and the amount of fur secured ; we do not 
know how much is used in local consumption, in manufactur- 
ing clothes for the inhabitants, but the figures of Irbit fair 
are accurately known, and furnish the best evidence of the 
present state of the trade. Irbit fair takes place from 
February 8 to March 10. It is supposed that two-tliirds of 


what is for sale there comes from the country west of Lake 
Baikal. What is not sold at Irbit usually goes on to Nizhne- 
Novgorod. A great deal of sable is not sent to Irbit, but 
direct to Moscow. Now, owing to the restriction on killing 
sable (mentioned on p. 54), which may be continued, sable 
appears to a much smaller extent among the sales at Irbit. 
The most important centre and distributing point of the 
fur trade is London, the next most important is Leipzig, 
near which place, at Weissenfels, there is a gigantic industry 
in dressing the skins of Russian grey squirrels and making 
them into linings. Irbit used to be eighty miles from the 
railway : the opening of the branch that goes through Irbit 
and Turinsk from the Perm-Tyumen Railway to the Tavda 
may do a great deal to recreate the greatness of the Irbit 
fair by making it more accessible ; but it looks as though 
the importance of fairs would be lessened, as the traders are 
more and more making their purchases at the place of 
production and dealing with the trappers on the spot. 

In 1910 the total sales at Irbit amounted to £729,000 ; in 
1912 prices had risen from 15 to 20 per cent., and the total 
amounted to £833,000 ; in 1917 with a great increase in prices 
the sales totalled £724,160. The sales in 1912 included 
4,535,000 squirrel-skins, 1,500,000 rabbits, 12,250 sables, 
200,000 ermines, 1,500 brown bear, 180,000 kolonok, 16,500 
grey wolf, 14,000 to 15,000 fox. Very fine sable sold for 
£42 each ; black fox skins were scarce, and fetched anything 
from £21 to £105 ; grey wolf skins were sold from £1 5s. to 
£3 lis. In 1914 the total value of squirrel-skins alone was 
£228,000, but in 1915 there was a great drop in the sale of these 
to £90,000. In 1916 business was rather slack. The chief 
fur-sales were as follows : about 3,500 badgers ; 1,500 bears, 
the price being about £3 4s. 5\d. per skin ; 60,000 black cats 
fetching up to Is. 5\d. per skin ; 10,000 Orenburg marmots ; 
1,000 pine martens from £1 12s. 2hd. to £1 18s. lid. each ; 
500 stone martens, £1 7s. lid. ; 6,000 mink; large quantities of 
red fox ; small quantities of Yeniseisk white fox at £3 4s. id. ; 
7,000 Obdorsk white fox, ranging from £2 5s. to £3 per skin; 


some Pechora white fox at £2 13s. Sd. ; about 100 silver fox, 
ranging from £16 2s. to as much as £107 each ; about 4,000 
reindeer fawns sold up to 7s. Qd., the same number of summer 
reindeer skins sold from 10s. 9d. to 15s. Q\d. ; only some 
3,000 sable, the lowest price being £2 15s. 10c?., the highest 
£8 lis. 2d. ; squirrels were very numerous, and fetched high 
prices, the best with full tails (3,000,000), realizing from 
8s. Id. to 9s. The Chinese bought up most of the dark ones 
on the spot, and only about 500,000 of them were offered for 
sale, less valuable type# fetching lOeZ. or Is. ; 1,000,000 white 
hares sold up to Is. \\d. for the best ; about 250,000 white 
pole-cats from 3s. 5d. to 3s. 9d. ; wolves were much in demand, 
about 2,000 were sold, fetching £1 18s. Id. The best from 
Turukhansk sold from £3 0s. Id. to £3 15s. Id. 

Fur-fairs are held at the confluences of the chief tributaries 
of the Amur, at Albazin, for instance, and Blagovyeshchensk. 
In the Uda district, where the sable is especially good, the 
fairs are at Kulcha on Lake Orel, Burukanskaya on the Tugur, 
and at the mouth of the Uda. There is an important fur-fair, 
on a much larger scale than these, at Nikolaevsk. As the 
natives of this region remove the heads and claws of the 
bears from religious motives, the bear-skins here are not of 
much value. 

In the far North-East the Anyui fair, once of the first 
importance, has declined considerably, since the Chukchee 
prefer to barter most of their furs with the Americans on 
Bering Strait. Only the most valuable furs are sent to the 
Anyui, as for these Russians give better prices. A number 
of furs, walrus, and mammoth-tusks now reach Vladivostok 
by sea from Gizhiga. The Russian traders at the Anyui fair 
all come from Yakutsk. 

At one time the Kyakhta fair, where Chinese merchants 
bought the peltries, was of great importance, but this is now 
no longer the case. 

There are many small fairs throughout the north and east. 
The fur sold at those in the south goes to Yeniseisk and 
Irkutsk. But the great fur-market of the north is the Yakutsk 


fair, which is held in July. The following table shows the 
number of skins sold : 





£ s. d. 

Sable . 




White fox 




(in 1911-12) up to 
2 14 


844 . 


Red fox 


Grey fox 


2 12 1 




Ermine . 




5 9 


. 73,500 



1 2 

Black bear 


In the average of the total amount of skins of fur-bearing 
animals in the international markets, the share of Russia 
and Siberia is as follows : 

Hares . 
Skunk . 
Brown bear 
Sable . 

All Russia. 
















A word or two may be added about the last-named animal. 
Its numbers had fallen so alarmingly that a law has been 
passed forbidding its slaughter from February 1, 1913, to 
October 15, 1916, with a permanent close time from February 
to October in each year. The Moscow Fur Association has 
pressed for a renewal of this law for another three years. 
In Kamchatka the danger of the sable becoming extinct was 
recognized some years ago, and reserves were marked out 
within which the hunting of sable was prohibited. A recent 
expedition has staked out two large sable-reserves in the 
Sayansk district. Sable skins range from 15 to 20 in. in 
length, and from 5 to 8 in. in breadth. In genuine sable 
the outer covering of hair is especially delicate in quality 
and beautiful in colour, having a rich blue tint, and varying 
from 11 to 2 J in. in length, while the pelt is very soft, but 


durable. In Kamchatka, Sakhalin, the Maritime Province, 
and the Barguzin district of the Transbaikal the sable holds 
the first place. It is, indeed, the most valuable of the fur 
animals. The best black sables come from the Yakutsk 
Province, notably the Lena district, the lightest and least 
valuable from the Ob and the Yenisei. The Kamchatka sable 
is browner than the others. The fur of the kolonok (' Tartar 
sable '), which is really yellow, can be dyed so as to resemble 
sable with such success, that expert judges often cannot tell 
the difference. 

Another animal for which protection is necessary is the 
white fox. Though it is found throughout northern Siberia, 
it is in great demand for imitating the rarer black and silver 
fox furs, and is ruthlessly hunted in consequence. 

The Indigirka is now the centre of the white fox hunting, 
the skins being bought up by the agents of the Ust-Yansk 
and Yakutsk merchants. In 1911 good skins fetched from 
15s. to 30s. there. 

The squirrel appears in the largest numbers in the fur- 
markets. The farther north and east the animal is found, 
the darker, thicker, and more valuable is its fur. Next to the 
squirrel comes the hare. The best squirrels come from the 
Lena, but the ermines from that region are the least valuable. 

Tiger-hunting is a regular occupation in winter on the 
lower Amur. In 1912 fifteen were killed and twelve caught 
alive. Of these ten were sent to Hamburg for sale. In some 
years 120 or more are killed. The bile, heart, and claws are 
sold to the Chinese, who make from them a powder, which is 
supposed to produce courage. 


The export of game is small. In 1909 it was about 1,200 
tons, worth £53,000 ; in 1910 about 1,800, worth £73,600. 
But Siberia abounds in edible birds of many kinds — duck, 
geese, hazel-hens, ptarmigan, &c. — and the export might be 
much increased if the business were better organized, and 


more ice-wagons were supplied on the railways. The principal 
place for the export of wildfowl in western Siberia is Barnaul. 

Fossil Ivory 

The collecting of fossil ivory is a regular industry among 
the natives of the far north. The mammoth tusks are 
found principally along the Arctic Ocean. Those near the 
shore are usually smaller than those inland. The New Siberia 
Islands are a favourite hunting-ground, the waves washing 
the tusks out of the sand-dunes in stormy weather. On the 
mainland these are most commonly found embedded in the 
earth banks of the smaller streams, the spring floods exposing 
them to view. The natives make their way to the Arctic 
Ocean or the adjacent islands with their dog -sledges in April, 
returning in November, when the ice is firm again. The 
Yakutsk fair is the chief market for fossil ivory, which is 
little inferior to ordinary ivory. Nearly twenty tons were 
taken in 1913, the price at Yakutsk being about £5 105. for 
36 lb. A certain amount is brought to the fairs in the 
Tobolsk Government. The Chukchee possess beautiful breast- 
ornaments made of fossil ivory. The flesh of the mammoth 
is eaten by the natives, apparently without harm to them- 
selves, but Europeans will be loth to follow their example. 



lassification : I. Palaeo-Siberian Tribes. II. Neo-Siberian Tribes: (i) Finno- 
Ugrian, (ii) Samoyedic, (iii) Turkic, (iv) Mongolie, (v) Tnngusic 


The inhabitants of Siberia may be considered in three 
oups, corresponding to the different periods at which the 
country was settled. (1) The first group are the descendants 
of the pre-historic inhabitants, who have always existed in 
the country, or else entered it at an early period of which 
for Siberia there is practically no knowledge. Such are the 
Chukchee, the Koryak, the Gilyak, and these are the aboriginal 
inhabitants. (2) Secondly there are races who settled in 
Siberia during the great movements of population which took 
place in Asia from the third to the thirteenth century. Such 
are the Finno-Ugrian tribes — for instance, the Vogul, and 
perhaps the Samoyedes — who came from the south of the 
Altai Mountains in the third century ; such the Turkic tribes, 
Yakuts and Tartars, who came from the regions of the Oxus, 
perhaps in the eleventh century or earlier ; such the Mongols, 
a people akin to the Turks, coming from the regions of the 
Himalayas into Siberia in the time of the famous Jenghiz 
Khan, early in the thirteenth century ; such are the Buryats. 
(3) Thirdly there are the Russian colonists, who have come 
more or less continuously into Siberia ever since the notable 
expedition of the Cossack Yermak, in 1580. 

The tendency to expand eastward is very distinct in 
Russian history. With regard to Siberia, Russian historians 
are fond of comparing the stream of immigrants to a military 
column, which has thrust itself along a broad belt of territory 
stretching east and west, from the south of the Ural Moun- 


tains to the valley of the River Amur. The territorial belt 
thus settled, more densely than any other part of the country, 
begins on the west, between Verkhoture to the north and 
Troitsk to the south, and stretches eastwards between Tobolsk 
and Petropavlovsk ; between the Tara and the Om the belt 
narrows, broadens a little between Tomsk and the Biya, 
and, as a compact mass, ends about Nizhne-Udinsk, with the 
rivers which flow into the Yenisei. In its eastward march 
from the Urals the column of immigration has thrown off 
outposts, as it were, which form settlements along the Ob, 
Yenisei, and Lena ; and gradually the Amur valley is being 
penetrated. By this more or less thickly settled belt of 
colonization, the native races have been divided into a 
northern and southern portion ; but far the greater number of 
them lie to the north, along the valleys of the great rivers 
that flow into the Arctic Ocean. 

A few native stocks are said to have disappeared altogether, 
or to have been absorbed ; some, like the Gilyaks and Chuk- 
chee, in the far corners of the land, are practically intact ; 
some, like the Irtish-Ostyaks, have preserved their nationality 
even amidst Russians ; some by intermarriage have exercised 
a greater influence upon the Russians than the Russians have 
upon them ; this is especially true of the numerous tribes 
of the Yakuts, whose customs, dress, and even language, have 
to a great extent been adopted by the immigrants. This 
mixing of Russians with native stocks is commonest on the 
outskirts of the belt of settlement, along the Yenisei and 
Lena. It is the converse of what happened, in the Middle 
Ages, in Russia itself, when native stocks from central Asia 
invaded the country, and intermarried with and were absorbed 
by its inhabitants. Only where the immigrants are com- 
paratively thick in Siberia, do the natives become Russianized. 

In this way new types have arisen in Siberia ; in addition 
to pure native stocks, there are native stocks infused with 
Russian elements, stocks whose dominant element is Russian, 
but who have been distinctly affected by native elements ; 
and finally there are the pure Russians, who, from living in 


the novel conditions of life, social and geographical, of Siberia, 
have themselves become a new type, different from the 
western Russian. 

It is difficult to make a satisfactory classification of the 
tribes of Siberia. The name, Palaeasiasts or, better, Palaeo- 
Siberians, has been applied to those indigenous stocks, which 
bear no clear relation to the other races that inhabit the world, 
but their own mutual relations are very indeterminate. To 
the rest, sometimes called loosely the Ural-Altaic stock, is 
given the name of Neo-Siberians. The word Mongolian is 
used too loosely for the purposes of scientific classification, 
sometimes so as to cover all the yellow races, including the 
Palaeo-Siberian tribes ; at other times for the Ural-Altaic 
stock, so as to include together Finns, Tartars and Turks ; 
again at other times, and more accurately, it is applied to 
one branch of this stock, i.e. that of which the Kalmuks 
and Buryats are members. 

Palaeo-Siberians. — To the Palaeo-Siberians can be assigned 
without further definition of their relations to one another the 
following not very numerous tribes : Chukchee, Koryak, Kam- 
chadal, Gilyak, Yukaghir with their branch the Chuvanzi, 
Ostyak of Yenisei ; outside Siberia are the Ainu, Aleut, of 
whom some live in the Commander Islands, and Eskimo, of 
whom a small number have returned to Asia. 

Neo-Siberians. — The Neo-Siberians can be divided into five 
fairly clear branches : (1) the Finno-Ugrian, which is practi- 
cally confined to western Siberia and Europe ; (2) the Samo- 
yedic, which extends along the north coast beyond the Yenisei, 
and has one branch, the Soyots, among the Saj^ansk Moun- 
tains ; (3) the Turkic ; (4) the Mongolic, whose great repre- 
sentative is the Buryat; and (5) the Tungusic, which includes 
the Manchu and many of the tribes of northern Manchuria. 

Altogether the number of these natives in Siberia is roughly 
a million. Many of the tribes are dying out; few only, like 
the Yakuts and Buryats, are increasing in numbers and have 
set their impress upon the Russians who have settled among 


In the more barren parts for instance among the marshes 
of the Irtish, or in the regions towards the Arctic Ocean, where 
there is little or no scope for agriculture, and where hunting 
and fishing are almost the only occupations, the number of 
natives is not increasing. But in the more fertile parts of the 
country, in the best parts of the river- valleys, in the middle 
and south, the native stocks do tend to increase. It is in 
these parts also that the process of Russification is most 
clearly taking place. Generally speaking, it may be said 
that the annual number of births among the natives is satis- 
factory; diminution m their numbers comes from a dispro- 
portionately high death-rate, particularly among infants. 
Nominally most of the natives are Christian, and belong to 
the Orthodox Greek Church. But the old superstitions and 
the old gods to a great extent prevail among them, while the 
more outlying tribes have hardly been touched by Christianity 
at all. They still have their images, magic, and medicine- 
men, their sacrifices, and their taboos ; polygamy and loose 
morality are not uncommon ; in places, even slavery exists ; 
the blood-feud is handed on from generation to generation. 
Amid cold and dirt, they live lives which to the western mind 
appear to be of unrelieved discomfort, bringing with it 
painful diseases, unrelieved by any medical help, and only 
aggravated by the brandy for which they greedily offer their 

I. The Palaeo-S iberian Tribes 


Territory. — The Chukchee territory proper lies east of 
Chaun Bay and north of the Anadir. But now, owing to 
their growing herds, the Chukchee have spread even as far 
as the Indigirka in the west, over the Anyui to the Omolon, and 
to the River Opuka and the Polpol Mountains on the Pacific. 
The few who reached Kamchatka have been largely assimilated 
by the Koryaks (see p. 106). Their territory consists chiefly 
of tundra with a fringe of forest, the camps lying mostly along 
the rivers, which are separated by bare watersheds. In 


autumn they seek the edge of the forest for shelter, in summer 
the hills near a small glacier, or preferably the open tundra. 
A camp wanders about 100-150 miles, following the same track 
each year. If the ground proves unsatisfactory, another may 
be chosen, so long as it is not already occupied. It is worth 
noting that by entering the Anyui and Omolon territory the 
Chukchee have put an end to the migrations of the wild 
reindeer between the Omolon and Chaun Bay. Hence the 
Yukaghir (see p. 113), who live almost entirely upon them, 
are rapidly dying out. 

The villages of the Maritime Chukchee stretch from Cape 
Erri to Anadir Bay, except for a few Eskimo settlements. 

Name. — The word ' Chukchee ' is generally derived from 
cau'eu (rich in reindeer). It is the name by which the Reindeer 
Chukchee distinguish themselves from the Reindeer Koryak 
or the Maritime Chukchee. But both Reindeer and Maritime 
Chukchee call themselves li'i-yi-lulit (those of genuine 
language) as distinct from other tribes. 

Language. — The Chukchee language is very similar to 
that of the Koryak. Though rich in words and pliant, it is 
less vital than Koryak and it has virtually no dialects. The 
similarity of the Chukchee language, as of their stature 
and features, to those of the Indians on the other side of 
Bering Strait is said to be noteworthy. 

The dominant position of the Chukchee is shown by the 
way in which they force other tribes and even the Russians 
to speak their language. Even on the Kolima and the Anadir 
they speak very little Russian. 

Numbers. — The Chukchee probably number about 12,000. 
The greater part are reindeer-breeders, who inhabit some 
650 camps. Thanks to their success with their herds 
they are increasing steadily and are the most powerful tribe 
in the east of Siberia. 

Relations with the Russians. — Since the failure of their 
attempts to subdue the Chukchee in the eighteenth century, 
the Russians have left them virtually independent and the 
relations between them have been, on the whole, excellent. 


Many parts of the peninsula have never been visited by 
a Russian. 

The power of the Chukchee chief whom the Russians recog- 
nize is barely nominal. Since 1889 a tribute of 247 roubles is 
paid by the Chukchee at the Anyui fair, but most of it comes 
from wealthy reindeer- breeders, and apparently the Russians 
are again obliged to give very substantial presents to secure 
it, now that the fair is so rapidly declining. 

Tribal divisions.— There are two great divisions of the 
tribe, Reindeer Chukchee and Maritime Chukchee. There 
is considerable evidence, apart from tradition, to show that 
the Chukchee were at one time entirely a maritime people 
which only turned its attention to reindeer-breeding by degrees. 
Their folk-tales are generally of the sea and the dog figures 
more largely in their religious life than the reindeer, though it 
has long ceased to be used by the Reindeer Chukchee for 
driving and is kept chiefly for religious reasons. Some of 
their stories point to their having migrated from the south, 
as do their names of the months. The process of transforma- 
tion is still going on. Many of the Maritime Chukchee have 
a few deer in the herds of friends and thus gradually acquire 
the means of starting as breeders. Even the Eskimo are 
following their example, for the depredations of American 
whalers are rendering the livelihood of the Arctic people who 
live on sea-mammals more and more precarious. Not that 
reindeer -breeding is without its risks. In a bad winter many 
owners may lose half their stock. But it is more profitable 
and more stable, on the whole, and many coast villages have 
already ceased to exist. 

Social organization. — The family is the permanent Chukchee 
unit, but the camp is the economic unit. It generally consists 
of a few families, perhaps of ten to fifteen persons in all. 
Rich people generally divide their herds, forming new camps. 
Permission to join a camp must be granted by its members. 
Each camp has its master, who is also called ' the strongest 
man ' , and lives in the : front tent ' . The maritime villages only 
occasionally have such a master. The commoner unit with 


them is the ' boatful ' of eight rowers and a helmsman who 
commands, and whose nearest relatives form the crew. The 
catch is divided among them on a regular system. The 
' strong man ' has more influence in the village than in 
the scattered camp. Murder within the family group is dealt 
with by the family alone and dangerous or disagreeable 
members are sometimes done away with. Murder outside the 
family entails a blood-feud ; for revenge is a duty. A group 
of kindred families is called varat (i. e. ' collection of those who 
are joined together '). But this bond of union is nowadays 
very loose. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — In appearance the 
Chukchee are well-built and healthy though heavy, and the 
well-fed reindeer-breeders are wonderfully strong. The nose 
is large and well-formed, but the lower part of the face is dis- 
proportionately heavy. Except on the Pacific coast, the hair 
is black. That on the face is scanty, but a moustache is the 
sign of manhood. The skin of the Maritime Chukchee is 
darker than that of the Reindeer. Women are more often of 
the Mongolian type, but many are as fair and shapely as 
the average of the white race. On the whole the stock is pure. 

Marriages with Russianized Creoles are perhaps increasing, 
owing to the prosperity of the Chukchee, but they are generally 
childless. There is a marked decrease of syphilis in the present 
generation owing, perhaps, to the precautionary measures 
taken in the last. But the country is liable to be swept by 
epidemics of measles and other diseases. The Chukchee 
are easily angered, but quarrels are usually settled by fights 
or wrestling-matches. Murders are still fairly numerous, 
however. The language is notably poor in terms of abuse. The 
kindness of the Chukchee towards suffering, even in animals, 
is most noticeable, as is their gentleness with children. They 
are also wonderfully generous towards other tribes. In time 
of famine a rich breeder near the Kolima will kill hundreds 
of animals for hardly any return. Some of the Lamuts (see 
p. 103) on the Chaun tundra get half their food from the 
Chukchee. Though there is now no ill-feeling towards 

G 2 


foreigners, the Maritime Chukchee are more hospitable than 
the others and less given to stealing. The Reindeer Chukchee 
are continually robbing each others' herds, the theft being 
punished by a fine or a thrashing, where the victim is strong 
enough to enforce his rights. The Chukchee are slow-witted 
and easily cheated in business. Their quinary- vigesimal 
system of counting is clumsy in the extreme and they can only 
keep track of the more notable animals in their herds. Thej^ 
have no remedies against disease except magic. Their 
endurance of cold is astonishing. Women will sew in the 
open snow half naked, because the exertion makes them so 
hot. They are not clean. They even call themselves the 
* non- washing people '. 

Fishing. — Seal-hunting is the chief occupation of the 
Maritime Chukchee. They use light harpoons for stabbing 
the seals through their blow-holes in winter, when they do not 
net them. For stalking them in the open they use heavier 
ones, but these are being rapidly superseded by guns. Wal- 
ruses are much less common, though since the Americans no 
longer hunt them they are a little more numerous. On the 
Pacific coast they are most easily killed during their migrations 
between Kresta Bay and Cape Dezhneva. Walrus and white 
whale are the favourite food. The Chukchee skin-boats are 
made out of one or at most two walrus-hides. They are light 
and can carry more than a whale-boat, but they are easily 
holed. Whale-boats are being more and more used, but owing 
to the scarcity of wood they are difficult to make. 

Hunting. — The Reindeer Chukchee, in addition to breeding 
reindeer, also hunt the wild reindeer when they cross the 
Anadir between the mouth of the Main and Chikayeva. They 
leave the Polpol Mountains in March and continue crossing 
in June, beginning to return in July. Some twenty Chukchee 
families on the middle Anadir live on nothing else and each 
gets 100-200 deer in a year. Non-migratory deer are also 
shot and mountain sheep are highly prized. Wolves, bears, 
and white or red foxes are trapped, while birds are snared. 
North of the Anadir there is comparatively little fishing. 


Bows and spears are still used in quarrels and every Chukchee 
wears a knife on his hip. The Chukchee make themselves 
snow-goggles out of leather or wood, with narrow slits for the 
eyes. The armour of walrus-ivory, seal-hide, or iron is now 
kept only as a curiosity. The Chukchee dogs are poor, 
though the Maritime Chukchee eat them in time of famine. The 
excellent Anadir dogs fetch high prices among the Chukchee. 

Dwellings. — The Chukchee tent is large and round with 
an oblong inner room which is the chief habitation. The 
three central poles have a sacred character. The tent is 
always set to the same points of the compass and the left side 
belongs by custom to the master. The inner tent is lit by 
a single lamp and the main evening meal is eaten there. 
Guests strip to the waist, while the family is naked except 
for a belt, as the heat rapidly becomes stifling. The stench 
is intolerable. Older and thinner skins are kept for the 
summer tent. 

Clothing. — The chief garment of a Chukchee is a heavy double 
loose-fitting reindeer-fur shirt, the collar of which can be 
tightened with a string. His boots and trousers are also 
double and of the same material. In these and his cap he 
can sleep in the open in winter. The Maritime Chukchee 
buy the cast-off clothes of their Reindeer brethren, who never 
wear them two winters running. In very bad weather they 
also wear a cape or a long great-coat. The women wear long 
boots and clumsy combinations, the sleeves of which so 
interfere with their work that they frequently keep one arm 
and breast bare. The Chukchee woman tattoos very little. 

Food. — The Maritime Chukchee live largely on sea- 
mammals, the Reindeer Chukchee on meat, but each at 
times craves for the other's diet. The Reindeer Chukchee 
are not squeamish. They will eat meat or entrails in any 
state of decomposition. They drink large quantities of tea 
and all the alcohol they can get and are inveterate smokers. 
Like the Koryak, they make an intoxicant from a mushroom. 

Birth and marriage. — The Chukchee are prolific, many 
families ha vine from 5 to 9 children. 


Marriage is not permanent. A man may change his wife. 
As a rule, however, the marriage is broken by her relatives 
reclaiming the bride. There are also ' group-marriages ' of 
10 couples, in which the husbands have a right to each other's 
wives. But this tie is never made between people in the 
same camp. On the death of a husband his brother succeeds 
him, keeping the dead man's reindeer herd for his children. 
Polygamy is rare among the Maritime Chukchee, as they 
cannot afford to support two wives, but not uncommon 
among the Reindeer breeders. 

Death. — Chukchee funeral rites are largely a protection 
against the evil influence of the dead. The body is drawn 
up through a hole in the roof or the back of the tent and all 
traces are removed to prevent the dead man's return. It is 
taken to the burial-place on a sledge. Here it is opened, the 
organs examined, and the cause of death proclaimed. The 
throat is then cut. The corpse is either exposed or burned. 
It is afterwards visited, to see whether it has been carried off 
by beasts — the best sign. On the fifth day the tent is moved 
to another place, but sacrifices are afterwards made at the 
grave. The usual abode of the dead is thought to be under- 
ground. Those who die sudden or violent deaths dwell in the 
Aurora Borealis. 

Religion.— V r air -git among the Chukchee are the benevolent 
beings to whom sacrifices are made, and they live in the 
22 directions of the Chukchee compass. The chief one lives in 
the zenith ; and Midday, the Sun, and the Pole -Star are very 
important. Others live in the reindeer and the walrus and 
in the winds. There are three classes of kelet or evil spirits, 
(a) invisible spirits, bringing disease and death ; (b) blood- 
thirsty spirits, the enemies of warriors ; (c) spirits which 
assist the shaman. The kelet is fond of the liver. Hence the 
opening of a corpse to discover what kelet has attacked its 
liver. According to the Chukchee there are from five to 
nine worlds one above the other, connected by a passage 
under the pole-star. Other parts of the sky are also inhabited. 

The object of Chukchee ceremonial is- to maintain the 


welfare of the community, and incantations are the leading 
feature. The chief festivals are the autumn and winter 
slaughterings, the ceremonial of antlers and the sacrifices 
to the New Moon, the Fire, and for Luck in Hunting. More- 
over, each family must perform a thanksgiving ceremony 
twee a year. 

Sport. — The Chukchee are fond of sport. They will travel 
enormous distances to race their reindeer in the spring. 
There are also foot races and wrestling matches. 

Reindeer-breeding. — The Chukchee reindeer herds, which 
are probably the most numerous in the world, are the most 
important economic feature in far north-eastern Siberia. 
It is therefore convenient to include in this section a general 
account of reindeer-breeding in eastern Siberia with more 
particular reference to the Chukchee. 

The Chukchee laid the foundations of their present pros- 
perity in their raids on the Koryak herds during the eighteenth 
century, but the principal increase has been during the last 
fifty years. The son of a chief who used to be looked on as 
very wealthy because he owned two herds, possesses five 
to-day, while his brother-in-law and his cousin each own 

The Chukchee deer are imperfectly tamed and readily run 
wild again. Milking is out of the question and they are 
difficult to manage in harness. The breed is undersized 
with short head and legs, heavy body, and thick antlers, and 
is dark in colour when compared with the Lamut. It is 
good for food, fattening quickly and keeping its condition. 
But it cannot be ridden and is much weaker than the Lamut, 
which is of twice its value. A Lamut fawn is exchanged for 
a full-grown Chukchee deer. Hence the Chukchee use 
Lamut deer in harness and sell their own to the Lamut for 
food. Crossing between wild and tame animals is common, 
the wild deer visiting the Chukchee camps in the rutting 
season. The fawns are much valued for racing, as they are 
swifter and have more mettle than the others. Their pedigree 
is preserved for three or four generations. A cross between 


a wild doe and a tame buck is especially prized. In colour 
the deer vary from dark grey to hazel, the fawns being darker 
than the full-grown animal. The}- live from twelve to 
fifteen years. They begin to shed their coats in spring 
and finish by midsummer. The hair thickens rapidly. By 
September it is suitable for winter clothes, for which fawn- 
skins are used. The skins of full-grown animals make tent- 
covers or rugs. 

In winter the herd lives almost entirely on reindeer moss, 
in summer chiefly on reed-grass and willow-shoots. In late 
summer and early autumn both moss and grass are necessary 
to fatten the herd. This is most important, because if a herd 
does not fatten then it will never fatten and there is a risk 
of losing the fawns in spring. In the autumn the deer will 
eat mushrooms, bird-dung round the moulting-places, and 
even young mice or birds. They are very fond of human 
urine and are so excited by the smell that they will charge 
a man who is making water near them. The natives in the 
camps are very careful in consequence. They use urine to 
attract the deer when troublesome and it is the most effective 
means of reviving an exhausted deer on a long journey. 

If snow falls late, it is bad for the deer as they cannot walk 
on ice. The herd must not remain too long in one place 
because their constant scraping hardens the snow so that 
they cannot reach the moss. Large herds move every few 
hours and are therefore leaner than small ones. Hence 
sufficient space is essential. But summer pastures will stand 
much more wear and tear than the winter ones. The deep 
snow of the forests makes it almost impossible for the deer 
to find food there. Trespassing is a serious offence, as once 
two herds get entangled it is very difficult to separate them. 

Calving goes on from mid-March to the end of May in the 
herds, three weeks earlier than in the wild state, with the 
result that many fawns die. During summer the bucks are 
kept away from the fawns and does. Does often rut in their 
first year. Hence the rapid increase of a herd. The Chuk- 
chee are careful in selecting animals for breeding. Gelded 


deer or barren does alone are driven. In an average herd 
the percentage is 12 breeding bucks, 10-15 sledge-deer, and 
60 or 70 half -grown fawns. In a large herd there will be 
30 bucks to 1.000 does. Wolves are the chief enemies. Hoof- 
swelling, caused by walking on dry ground, is the principal 
malady. The first frost cures it, but it often causes a number 
of deaths. Ticks are troublesome. Far more serious is the 
scabies that carries off whole herds when it pays its periodical 

The herds require careful attention during the breeding- 
season and still more in summer when they are troubled by 
insects. Even the women then help to watch them, as the 
least thing causes a stampede. The herdsmen are often bound 
to stay two or three nights without sleep. In summer they 
have to carry everything themselves, including the skins of 
slaughtered animals, and the weight the less active will 
carry so as to leave the others free is astounding. But in 
winter a couple of boys can watch a herd for weeks. Deer 
are caught with the lasso, and a good lasso is worth a fat buck. 
The Yukaghir on the Omolon. who only use their animals 
for riding, keep them in sheds during winter, allowing them 
two small graylings a day for food. Poor men anxious to 
own a herd take service with a big breeder. They must work 
hard, but with luck may own 100 deer after five years. 

The least timid animals are chosen for driving and broken 
in during the first year. With the Lamut deer this is easy, 
but often very difficult with the Chukchee. One animal is 
used for a pack-sledge, two for driving. One woman will 
lead 10 or 15 sledges fastened one behind the other, but 
a wealthy family may travel with 40-60 in several lines. 
With good going well-fed deer will do 200 miles in two days, 
but they need instant rest if tired, and spare animals are 
therefore usually taken. Dogs have far more endurance. 

Thanks to their herds, the Chukchee are much better off 
than the fish-eating tribes and they are always called in to 
stave off famine, as well as to supply food in ordinary times— 
at the Anyui fair, for instance. But the highest famine price 


for a deer is 1 65. Sd. and their ordinary value is only a cake 
of brick-tea and a packet of tobacco in fair time. On the 
Anadir, with its salmon and its wild deer, a shilling is the 
usual price. 

The Eskimo are not a Siberian tribe, but a number of them 
have crossed over from America and have settled along the 
west coast of Bering Strait from Cape Dezhneva to Cape 
Bering, either in villages of their own or in common with the 
Maritime Chukchee, with whom they are identical in material 
civilization. They are most numerous near Cape Dezhneva 
and between Capes Chaplin and Ulyakhpen. They number 
about 1,600, including those on St. Lawrence Island and the 
Diomede Islands. Their language is said to be closely con- 
nected with that of the Aleuts. Most of those round Cape 
Chaplin speak a little English. They smoke as much tobacco 
and drink as much spirits as they can obtain. When their 
customs and beliefs differ from those of the Maritime Chuk- 
chee, they are of American origin. A dying Eskimo is placed 
in a specially built snow hut or tent, according to the time 
of year. He is carried in by a back entrance, all signs of 
which are then removed. He is visited occasionally by 
relatives, but at the approach of death he is left altogether 
alone. The Eskimo are a maritime people and hold that 
their dead live under the sea. The road thither is very 
difficult and a soul may die again on the way, but once there 
a man has all he can desire. 


Territory. — The Kor}-ak tribe extends from the Stanovoi 
Mountains to the sea and on the west side of Kamchatka as 
far south as lat. 55° N. The north-west boundary of their 
habitat is now the River Varkhalan ; they used to extend 
along the west shore of the Sea of Okhotsk. 

Name of tribe. — The name ' Koryak ' is not used by them- 
selves, but probably derived from neighbouring tribes. Its 
derivation is quite uncertain. 


Racial affinities and language. — They seem to be closely 
related by race and language with the Chukchee, but their 
language is not reduced to writing. There are four main 
dialects of it spoken by (1) the Koryaks of north Kamchatka, 
(2) the Reindeer Koryaks of Kamenskoe, &c, (3) the 
Alutor Koryaks, (4) the Kereks in the NE. The main division 
of the Koryaks is into Reindeer and Maritime Koryaks ; the 
manner of life of these two branches of the race has made 
them develop on wholly different lines ; there is little 
intermarriage between them because of the difference of their 
mode of housekeeping ; the Reindeer Koryaks intermarry 
with the Chukchee, the Maritime Koryaks with the Kam- 
chadals. The Reindeer Koryaks have advanced less far in 
civilization, but they are generally given a better character. 
The Reindeer Koryaks are mainly in Gizhiga and Petropav- 
lovsk ; there are few in Anadir, none in Okhotsk. 

Numbers. — In the census of 1897 the population was 
distributed as follows : 

Gizhiga . . 4,434 (2,389 Reindeer : 2,045 Maritime) 

Petropavlovsk 2,675 (1,284 Reindeer : 1,391 Maritime) 

Okhotsk . . 244 ( Reindeer : 244 Maritime) 

Anadir . . 177 ( 75 Reindeer : 102 Maritime) 

Total . . 7,530 

The population increases in the intervals between epidemics 
and famines, but the Koryaks have suffered from many 
scourges : syphilis (called the Yukaghir or Chuvanzi disease, 
because of the route by which it came to them from Russia), 
two forms of arctic hysteria, small-pox, and measles, the 
spread of which was attributed by them to their shortage of 
professional shamans. 

Relations with Russians. — The Russians first came into 
contact with them about 1640. Until 1712 the Koryak 
refused to recognize Russian sovereignty, but not until 1764 
did their opposition cease. From 1649, when the fortress of 
Anadirsk was built, the Cossacks tried to exact tribute from 


them. But wars have now ended for them, even with the 
Chukchee, their secular foe. The relations between the 
Russians and Koryaks are not altogether happy ; the Koryaks 
resent the Cossacks' demand for transport free of cost, and 
see in every traveller an official, and so an object of suspicion. 
They like better the Americans, who practise ' contraband ' 
hunting of sea-animals ; from them they suffer no harsh 
exactions, and receive supplies much more cheaply than 
from the Russians. They also appreciate their alcoholic 
liquors. Few Maritime Koryaks and no Reindeer Koryaks 
have learnt Russian. 

Social institutions. — The Russian Government have divided 
them into clans, but these were territorial designations and 
have become misleading owing to migrations. Their own 
social unit is the family, though families related by marriage 
have a tendency to draw together ; there are even cases of 
fraternizing with unrelated families ; members of such 
alliances were formerly bound to help one another in war, 
but the absence of war has abolished this aspect of the 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Koryaks arc 
described by Jochelson as below average height. They arc 
well developed, have broad shoulders and good muscles. 
Their hair is usually black (78 per cent, of the men, and 
53 per cent, of the women have black hair), bald heads are 
rare among them. Their eyes are narrow, but not peculiarly 
Mongolian ; their nose is of moderate width ; they have 
little hair on the face ; their skin is bronze coloured. Their 
speech is slow, and they talk in a lazy manner unless they 
are excited. Travellers give very diverse accounts of their 
character, but their marked characteristics seem to be 
obstinacy, austerity, and dauntlessness. They are said to be 
hard to deal with, unless their customs are understood ; 
if displeased, they are churlish, rude, and quarrelsome ; if in 
good humour, they are friendly and jocose. They are truthful 
and straightforward and do not flatter. They are hospitable 
and treat their families and animals with kindness. 


Art. — They have highly-developed artistic skill, and make 
carvings in wood, ivo^, whalebone, and horn. Among their 
arts are basketwork decoration and rugs made of reindeer- 
skin, with ornamental patterns of the black and white fur of 
the young reindeer. 

Occupations. — Their main occupations are fishing, hunting, 
and reindeer-breeding. Fishing takes place only during the 
summer months. The fishing implements are of a primitive 
kind, little affected by the Russians. They are as yet un- 
familiar with seine-nets. They use nettle-fibre, which they 
spin in a primitive and imperfect manner. They use skin- 
boats constructed like those of the Eskimo ; a large boat is 
nearly 30 ft. long with a maximum width of about 8 ft. 
between the gunwales. It is covered usually with skins of 
the thong-seal, the use of which is spreading to other parts 
where the walrus is disappearing. The Koryaks steer with 
an oar ; they are not really good seamen, though better than 
the Kamchadals. They also use kayaks (boats for one man) 
and, in northern Kamchatka, dug-outs. Hunting for sea- 
mammals is of great importance ; they hunt for ground-seal 
and ringed-seal throughout the year, except in the winter 
months ; the principal period for thong-seal is September and 
October. Their chief weapon is the harpoon, but they also use 
the mallet for stunning those creatures that have fallen asleep 
on shore. During the fishing season the Koryaks are too 
busy to trouble about the seals. The whale industry is long 
dead : the Koryaks do not go far enough out to sea, but 
American whalers occasionally bring them dead whales, from 
which the skin, blubber, and whalebone have been removed 
The only animals killed by the Koryaks on land for the sake 
of food are wild reindeer and big-horns. There are but few 
of the former ; the latter are hunted principally in autumn. 
They hunt animals chiefly for their fur ; the bear (which also 
furnishes food) is hunted four times in the year, (1) in summer, 
when it goes fishing ; (2) in autumn, when it hunts berries ; 
(3) in winter in its lair ; and (4) in spring in self-defence. 
Hunters among the Maritime Koryaks train dogs, which do 


not drag sledges, to attack bears. Foxes, especially red foxes, 
are clubbed, trapped, shot, and poisoned. There are some 
grey wolves in the tundra. The sable is now rare ; so are 
the ermine, otter, and glutton. 

Reindeer- breeding is still in a primitive stage (see pp. 103-106) . 
It may not be more than a thousand years old. Left to 
themselves, the reindeer readily return to the wild state. 
However, the Koryaks will domesticate wild reindeer. Rein- 
deer-breeding necessitates a wandering life, as the herds in 
search of their food paw up all the snow. The use of dogs 
for driving is probably very old. Dog-breeding necessitates 
settled habits, as it requires large stocks of animal food for 
the winter. The main food of the Siberian dogs consists 
of fish. The Maritime Koryaks (as also the Yukaghir) build 
roomy sheds at the side of their houses for their dogs. When 
spring comes and the sledge is no longer employed, the dogs 
are given no food, but have to hunt for it. They are very 
fierce while driven. Should a team of dogs meet harnessed 
reindeer they will, unless prevented, inevitably tear them in 
pieces, and a meeting of two dog-teams will lead to a serious 
encounter, if not forcibly prevented. The average number 
of dogs possessed in one household among Maritime Koryaks 
is ten. 

Dwellings and furniture. — The habitation of the Reindeer 
Koryaks is an outer tent with an inner tent for sleeping ; 
the Koryak tent usually has three or four inner sleeping- 
tents (polags) of small dimensions (6 ft. square and 4 or 5 ft. 
high) partitioned off with light poles and skin curtains. 
A camp seldom contains more than three tents. They have 
four main removals in the year : (1) in October they put up 
their tents in the river valleys under the protection of high 
banks among poplar and aspen groves ; (2) in spring, at the 
end of March, before the fawning period begins, they descend 
to the open tundras on the lower courses of rivers ; (3) in July 
they ascend the mountains to be near the river sources ; 
(4) in autumn, at the time of the fawn-festival, they return 
from the ridges to the tundras and river- valleys. The 


Maritime Koryaks have their dwellings underground, or half 
underground : one type is described as like an hour-glass in 
shape ; these are permanent buildings of wood, varying in 
size ; they used to be more spacious than now. Among the 
Kereks as many as twenty-five persons often live in one 
house. During the winter the lower entrance is closed, and 
the house is approached by a ladder, or rather a log of wood 
with holes for the feet, inconveniently small for Europeans. 
The descent into the interior is disagreeable when there is 
a smoky fire. In the summer-time the ladder is removed. 
They import metal kettles, prizing especially copper ; for 
water they use skin or wooden buckets. The atmosphere 
inside the huts is such that the Koryaks usually sleep naked ; 
sometimes their clothes are put outside for the parasites to 
freeze off them. The fire-drill is only used ceremonially. 

Clothing, food. — They dress in deer-skin, their costume con- 
sisting of a kotlanka (or frock), trousers, boots, and leggings. 
In summer their clothes are of dressed skins, in winter of skins 
with the hair remaining. They are passionately fond of 
tobacco, which they chew, but rarely smoke. A favourite 
intoxicant is made of fly-agaric, a kind of fungus, but women 
never take it ; it is a poison, which if taken in very great 
quantities will kill ; it is used by shamans to produce an 
ecstatic state. Brandy, though forbidden, finds its way 
among them : it is popular, especially with older people. 
The ordinary food is fish, reindeer meat, dried salmon, and 
seal's blubber with rancid oil. 

Birth, marriage, and death. — The mortality of infants up to 
one year is enormous, and the number is increased by putting 
to death any child whose mother dies during or soon after 
confinement, as artificial feeding is impossible. 

The penalties for unchastity are very severe, and illegitimacy 
is almost unknown. Polygamy is rare ; the ' elder ' in the 
settlement is often polygamous, but most cases of polygamy 
are due to the observance of the levirate law, by which a man 
has to marry his deceased brother's wife or owing to the 
barrenness of his first wife. The future bridegroom has to 


serve for his bride ; the period of service may be anything 
from six months to three years. If a man does not please 
his future father-in-law he can be sent away after many 
years of service without any reward. Money cannot be 
substituted for service. The preliminaries of marriage are 
arranged by the ' matchmaker ' (asking one). The actual 
ceremony is by seizure. 

When a Reindeer Koryak dies his body is dissected to find 
the probable cause of death, and the Maritime Koryaks stab 
the dead man in order that the child in whom his body is 
reincarnated may not die of the same illness. The dead are 
burnt, except by the Kereks, who let down their dead in 
funeral attire into the sea. Parenticide is now abandoned ; 
even the tradition has disappeared in some places ; but it 
seems to have been a general practice, in order to spare the 
sick and aged unnecessary suffering. Now relatives take 
good care of a dying man. 

Other customs. — Only clothing and ornaments are personal 
property among the Koryaks. The wooden ' guardians ? , 
household appurtenances, house, nets, and skin- boats are 
family property. The reindeer are the property of all the 
members of the family, but the movements of the herd are 
directed by the father. The Koryak can count better than 
the Chukchee. He has two bases of computation, 5 and 20. 
and in counting uses both hands and feet. 

Religion. — The Maritime Koryaks have adopted Chris- 
tianity and renounced many of their superstitions ; the 
Reindeer Koryaks retain much of their primitive religion, 
as do also the Maritime Koryaks of Penzhina Bay and north 
of Alutorski Cape. However, the combined influence of traders 
and Cossacks has made them abandon a good deal of their 

It was among the Koryaks that the shamans were first 
affected by Christianity. In the Koryak houses are wooden 
images of ' guardians ' ; they receive homage as containing 
a vital principle in them and having had incantations pro- 
nounced over them. 


The chief religious festivals among the Koryaks are : 

(1) Among the Maritime Koryaks : 

(a) Whale festival. 

(b) Putting away the whale-boat for winter. 

(c) Launching the skin-boat. 

(d) Wearing of masks. 

(2) Among the Reindeer Koryaks : 

(a) Ceremony on the return of the herd from summer 


(b) Fawn festival. 

(c) Reindeer races. 

(3) Ceremonies common to both ; 
(a) Bear festival. 

(6) Wolf festival. 

(c) Ceremonies in connexion with fox-hunting. 
The reindeer races are religious, in honour of the One on 
High, while dog-races and foot-races are secular. Every 
owner of a large reindeer herd arranges races once a year, 
usually about the close of winter. Sometimes the host sacri- 
fices the reindeer that he has been racing, 


Territory. — The Yukaghir originally extended from the 
Lena to the Anadir and from the Verkhoyansk Range to the 
Arctic Ocean ; now they are principally to be found above 
Verkhne-Kolimsk, along the valleys of the Yasachnaya and 
Korkodon, and in the region of Alaseiskoe. They are a very 
ancient tribe, who have been gradually pushed northwards. 
They were once very numerous, for tradition says that the 
northern lights were the reflection of their innumerable 

Name of tribe. — The word Yukaghir is not used by them- 
selves : it seems to be a Tungus word, judging by its termina- 
tion, and probably means the ' distant ones '. Sauer says 
that they call themselves Andon Domni, which is probably 
an incorrect rendering of Odud omni the ' people '. 

Racial affinities and language. — It is difficult to trace 



strong racial affinities for them ; most of them now speak 
the Tungus language, but there are survivals of their own 
tongue, which seems to have been highly inflected, and very 
rich in suffixes and case-endings : it has two dialects, one 
spoken by Yukaghir and Lamuts who live with them on the 
Rivers Korkodon and Yasachnaya, the other spoken by the 
Yukaghir and Yukaghirized Tungus on the tundra between 
the Rivers Kolima and Indigirka. 

Numbers. — The Yukaghir are dying out : their marriages 
are mostly sterile, and they are a sickly breed. The latest 
figures of their numbers give them only 754, of whom 388 are 
males. With them must be included the Chuvanzi, a branch 
of the Yukaghir who live round Markovo, and who number 
453 (236 males), but they have either become Russianized 
or have fallen much under the influence of Chukchee or 

Divisions. — The Anaul formed a division of the Yukaghir 
living on the Anadir ; they were fishermen and had no 
reindeer ; they have partly died out and partly become 
Russianized. The tribal name Odul has been adopted by the 
Yukaghirized Tungus of the tundra ; the Tungusized Yukaghir 
call themselves Dutki. There has been much intermarriage 
with Tungus and Lamut, so that the regular type of Yukaghir 
has largely disappeared. Like the Chukchee and Koryaks 
they can be divided into Reindeer and Maritime tribes ; they 
have also been classified from the names of the rivers along 
which they lived (viz. Alaseya, Omolon, Kolima, Kongina, 

Relations with Russians. Social institutions. — At the time 
of the Russian conquest they had a well-organized clan system, 
but it is now much in decay. The only tribal unity that they 
seem to recognize is that they do not make war among them- 
selves ; no traditions survive among them of a common tribal 
ancestor. Such clan system as they had was disregarded by the 
Russians, T ,vho have composed clans, which are little more than 
associations for paying tribute. The Russian law allows the 
natives to settle their own affairs (with the exception of capital 


offences, such as murder and mutilation) according to the 

customs of the people concerned. The elder, who under the 

Russian system replaces the ' old man ', is authorized to punish 

ihe clansmen with imprisonment and even physical chastise- 

tent. Severity, however, is not often required among the 

iw-abiding and timid Yukaghir. Under the native system 

:he prominent personages in the clan life were the ; old man ' , 

ie shaman, the ' strong man ', and the first hunter : the 

ist two offices may be combined in the same personage, and 

Dhe last is the only one whose duties have not fallen at all 

into desuetude. There used to be a class of captive slaves 

called po (hired labourers were called nicil) ; among these 

women had a better position than men. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Yukaghir are 
of short stature ; on the average they are the shortest people 
in north-east Siberia ; the men's waists are small, and they 
have slender and supple figures, moving and dancing grace- 
fully. The women have stout waists, and as a rule short 
clumsy figures ; but there are no really stout figures among 
either sex. Their children look very weak and sickly, and 
their young men effeminate. The hair of the Yukaghir is 
usually dark brown ; the hair on his face is scanty ; the eyes 
are dark-brown and more widely open than those of Mongol 
peoples ; the complexion is either brown as the Chukchee's 
and Koryak's, or it is yellow as the Tungus'. They are the 
most timid tribe in Siberia, and will submit to any treatment 
te avoid an oath or curse. They are hospitable to a fault, 
a fact which is known by their neighbours the Yakuts, who 
make protracted stays among them and eat up their fish. 
Though mild and kindly, they do not readily forgive an offence, 
but their fear of Russian administration is such that they do 
not often commit murder ; for the same reason they are accus- 
tomed to render services to the Russians without any remunera- 
tion. A desire to imitate the Russians has led them to wash, 
and soap is popular among them ; at the same time they 
regard lice on the person as a sign of good health. They are 
extraordinarily honest and truthful, and will spare no effort 


to pay off the debts incurred by themselves or inherited. 
Despite irregularities in their lives, they are bashful and 
modest in speech. 

Occupations. — Their chief occupations are hunting and fish- 
ing. They hunt the squirrel, glutton, and fox, in order to 
obtain in their place, tea, sugar, and other requirements. The 
rifle has taken the place of the bow. They capture reindeer 
while swimming, having discovered the place where they will 
come down the river when driven by mosquitoes. The hunters 
kill reindeer for the entire group that accompanies them 
during the period of the chase ; for fear of the evil eye they 
give a portion of their booty to strangers. Their only domestic 
animals are dogs and reindeer ; they do not breed horses or 
cattle, but the Yasachnaya Yukaghir hire horses of the Yakuts 
for the squirrel-hunting season. They use hemp for fishing- 
nets, and horsehair has replaced the flexible willow-branches 
that they previously used. They have such wide-meshed 
nets that, as they say themselves, ' a bear could get through.' 
But they have other means of catching fish. A bad fishing 
season and a bad reindeer year lead them almost to starvation. 
They say when the fishing is bad : ' there is an old man in 
Verkhne-Kolimsk, whose heart is harder than Russian iron, 
and he won't let the salmon out of his cave.' 

Dwellings and food. — They live during summer in conical 
tents (urus) made of thin poles, and during winter in small 
houses made of hewn logs. They are more particular than 
the Koryaks or Yakuts about their food, and will not 'eat 
rancid meat. They are great smokers. Such funds as are 
over from the purchase of tobacco are used for buying brandy, 
but they will not drink alone. They share their pleasure with 
the whole family, including infants in arms. 

Birth, marriage, and death. — New-born children used to be 
killed if the mother died in childbirth. Sterility was regarded 
as a punishment sent by dead relations, and the shaman 
would be resorted to in order that such resentment might be 

Before marriage, chastity is not expected of girls, but 


indiscriminate bestowal of their favours is disapproved. 
Marriage is endogamic, but there are strict laws prohibiting 
marriage between near relatives. A man serves three years 
for a bride, and if he is then rejected has no compensation. 
Polygamy is practised : a man will sometimes spend part of 
the year in the house of one father-in-law, and the rest in that 
of another. The Tungus and Yukaghir have to some extent 
borrowed one another's marriage customs. 

The dead used formerly to be placed on platforms which 
were raised on poles. In the Kolima district it was a custom 
to distribute the flesh and bones among the relatives of the 
deceased : these were dried and put in leather bags and then 
worn as amulets, called ' grandfathers '. 

Religion. — A nominal Christianity has not affected the 
Yukaghir much. Shamanism has a much greater hold upon 
him. Even the Christian Yukaghir has no Church ceremony 
till a year or more after his marriage. 


Territory. — The name may be applied either strictly to the 
principal tribe who inhabit the peninsula of Kamchatka, 
or more vaguely to some wandering tribes north of the penin- 
sula. There are some tribes, too, like the Palanzi, who live in 
the ostrog north of Tigilski, and the Olyutorski, who live along 
the Pacific behind the cape which bears their name, who 
have close racial affinities with them and the Ukinzi between 
Cape Ozerni and the River Timlata. 

Name. — The name Kamchadal is given them by the Russians : 
they call themselves Itelmen, and are called Konchalo by 
the Koryaks. 

Racial affinities and language. — The race is mainly a half- 
breed between the aborigines and Siberian emigrants or 
escaped convicts : the pure Kamchadals are very rare. They 
have many attributes, especially in costume and customs, in 
common with the Mongols, but share more with the dwellers 
in north-east Siberia and north-west America. They are 
found in the Kuril Islands, especially in Shumshu, the 


northernmost of the group. The language cannot be assigned 
to any known group : it is very guttural, and has many in- 
flexions and prefixes. The vocabulary is very poor, there 
being only one word for the sun and moon. It is most spoken 
in the south and in the north about Penzhinskoe, where it is 
purest ; but it is disappearing, and most of the tribe speak 

Divisions. — There are three divisions of the Kamchadals : 
one group occupies the valley of the River Kamchatka, 
the second the west coast from Bolsheryetsk to Oblukovina, 
the third the Kurils, where they are found together with the 

Numbers. — Drink and illnesses have reduced the population. 
The last figures give 2,805, of whom 1,415 are males, but it 
is not known precisely which tribes were included in this 
numeration, and the real Kamchadals are possibly onl}- 
half that number. They are not a very prolific people : 
women usually have only four or five children. 

Relations with Russians. — Since the suppression of the revolt 
in 1731 the Kamchadals have been quiet, and they are now 
largely Europeanized : European have taken the place of 
native dances ; the native costume is discarded for something 
like that of a Russian peasant ; they have also largely given 
up their extreme fondness for dirt. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The true Kani- 
chadal in general is below the common height ; his figure 
is round and squat, his eyes small and sunken, his cheek- 
bones prominent, his nose fiat, his hair black, his beard scanty, 
his complexion brown or yellow. He is mild-tempered and 
honest, an easy prey to traders who deceive him, apt to get 
drunk, lazy, and apathetic, with no thought for the future, 
but careless and indifferent. They used to be a warlike and 
revengeful people, but they are now more remarkable for their 
readiness to oblige and then hospitality. Lansdell attributes 
to them a custom of tactfully relieving themselves of a guest 
whose protracted stay threatens to exhaust their stock by 
serving him a dish called tolkootha — the dish is found among 


Tungus tribes also — which consists of a mixture of meat, 
fish, and vegetables. The guest takes the hint and departs 
the next day. 

Occupations. — Their chief occupations are fishing, especially 
for salmon, and hunting. The efforts of the Government to 
introduce cattle-breeding have failed ; agriculture does not 
flourish, as corn will not ripen (except round Klyuchevskoe) ; 
gardening prospers better, as roots will grow. Their method 
for catching salmon, as described by Demidoff , is to fix rows 
of inclined birch-stakes across a river from one bank to the 
other with only a narrow aperture on one side for canoes. 
Attached to these poles a little below the surface of the water 
and a few yards apart, are set two or three long wicker baskets 
according to the width of the river. The fish, which come up, 
are unable to proceed on account of the stakes : they then 
make their way through the gaps leading into these baskets, 
out of which inward- turned spikes prevent them from escaping. 
When the natives go to collect their catch, they lift part of 
the basket out of the water and secure the fish with iron- 
edged gaffs through a small door at the top. In this way 
they manage to take 2,000 fish in a day. They seldom use 
seines, but almost always common nets, made of packthread 
purchased from the Russians, or of nettle-fibre : they also 
use harpoons. They hunt reindeer, big-horns, foxes, otters, 
beavers, hares, and sables : special methods have been 
adopted to protect the last, which would otherwise become 
extinct. They trap bears, and show great patience when they 
lie in ambush for them. Their chase is attended with certain 
superstitions : they abstain from washing themselves, they 
are careful not to pronounce the name of an animal that they 
hunt for fear of ill-luck, and not to make the sign of the cross. 
The}' invoke their god Kutkhu and sacrifice in his honour 
the first animal that they catch. They are indefatigable 
walkers, but are also experts in driving sledges and training 
sledge-dogs. When in a team, the most intelligent dog is 
selected as leader ; the others are harnessed two and two 
behind. A cry of tag-tag makes them turn to the right, a cry 


of kougha sends them to the left. The harness is of leather : 
it is passed over the dog's breast and is joined to the sledge by 
a strap 3 ft. long in the manner of a trace. If the driver 
strikes the ice with his stick (oshtol) they go to the left ; if 
he strikes the side of the sledge they go to the right ; if he 
places the stick in front of the sledge, they stop. The dog- 
sledge is practically their only means of communication 
and horses are very rare. 

Dwellings. — Like many other Siberian tribes they live in 
different kinds of huts during summer and winter. The 
former (balagans) are erected on posts about 12 or 14 ft. high ; 
their conical roof is covered with a kind of thatch made of 
bark ; the cooking is performed in the middle of the room 
where they all eat and sleep together ; there are no windows 
and the doors are so low that they scarcely admit the light. 
The staircase is merely a beam jagged in an irregular manner ; 
if it is turned with the steps, or notches, inward, it is a sign 
that the residents are not at home. One advantage of the 
height of the house is that they can dry their fish out of the 
reach of the dogs. Their winter houses (izbas) are of wood : 
they are made of trees placed horizontally with the interstices 
filled Math clay ; the interior usually has two rooms, which can 
be warmed, as in Russian inns and small houses, by a stove 
set between them. The hmdes are tidy and often decorated. 
Windows are made of skins of salmon or bladders of various 

Clothing, food. — Lesseps in 1790 describes their costume 
as an outer garment (parka) made of skins of deer or other 
animals, tanned on one side, and long breeches of similar 
leather ; next the skin is worn a very short and tight shirt of 
nankin or cotton, the woman's being of silk. They wore fur 
caps. A recent traveller, Demidofr, says that now their 
costume resembles that of a Russian peasant — a blue cotton 
shirt under an old brown jacket, broad trousers tucked into 
topboots, and a military cap. Their boots are made of rein- 
deer hide, the soles being stitched on to seals' throat-skins 
round the calves. In summer they wear boots of goats' or 


dogs' skins tanned. Their principal food is dried fish ; some 
fish they allow to become putrid in a hole and then eat them. 

Birth, marriage, and death. — Births take place in public, with 
relatives and neighbours gathered round. Infanticide is prac- 
tised, women giving their undesired offspring alive to the 
dogs ; if twins are born, one of the pair must be killed ; 
so must a child born during a storm unless incantation can 
remove the evil that would ensue. 

A man's bride is usually selected from the next village, 
not from his own ; he serves for her, but is given compensa- 
tion if he fails in his suit. He has to capture his bride as 
among the Koryaks, but the ceremony is more of a reality. 
Marriage is only forbidden between parents and children. 
Virginity is not required in a bride. Divorce is easy. 

The dead are eaten by dogs ; children are buried in hollow 
tree -trunks. 

Religion and superstition. — Their chief god is Kutkhu, the 
supreme being ; his wife with them is called Kakee, his son 
Trel-Kutan, his daughter Shi-Shakels. Their mythology is 
crude and obscene. Volcanoes and hot springs are the 
abode of evil spirits (Kamuli). Sacrifices are not made to 
the gods, but to the many spirits good and bad with which 
they people heaven and earth, the greatest of whom is 
Pikhlyash. There is little professional Shamanism among 
them ; every old woman and woman in man's clothes is 
counted as a witch. There was a class among them called 
Koekchuk, who were treated as women ; it is possible that 
they were captive slaves who were purposely rendered 
effeminate to make them less dangerous, and who therefore 
were made to share the woman's life. Certain trades were 
regarded as unmanly ; if a man became a tailor or shoemaker, 
he was regarded as a koekchuk. 


Territory. — The Gilyaks extend along the coast of the 
mainland on either side of the mouth of the Amur, from 


Tug ur ski Bay on the north-west to the Mamia Rinzo Strait on 
the south-east, and they also occupy the northern part of 
Sakhalin down to lat. 50° 10'' N. on the west shore and to about 
lat. 51° N. on the east shore, the southernmost settlements 
being respectively Porokolan and Chamr-vo. 

Name. — The name by which they know themselves is 
Nibch ( = the men), but the Russians have called them 
Gilyaks, a modification probably of the Chinese designation 
for the Kilor or Kiler. 

Racial affinities and language. — They present one of the 
greatest ethnological problems in all Asia. They have been 
variously claimed as a branch of the Ainu (the race that 
inhabits south Sakhalin and Yezo), of the Tungus, and of the 
Tartars — an error which is repeated in the name ; Gulf of 
Tartary ' applied to the sea between Sakhalin and the con- 
tinent. Some of their characteristics have been regarded 
as Caucasian, and it has been supposed that there was a large 
infusion of the blood of Russian adventurers from the seven- 
teenth century. Were it not for their language they might 
be regarded, so far as their physiognomy and bone structure 
goes, as a branch of the Tungus ; in many of their customs 
they approximate to their neighbours, such as the Olcha and 
Goldi, but their speech is quite distinct and cannot be classified. 
It is an isolated tongue like that of the Koryaks and Yukaghir, 
and even one unacquainted with the language can on the 
most casual training distinguish it from any Tungus speech. 
It is harsh and full of consonants ; sibilant, nasal, and guttural 
sounds prevail. It has many words borrowed from other 
languages, but apart from its vocabulary it bears no close 
resemblance to any Mongol language. As far as language 
goes therefore, the Gilyaks must be classed among the Palaeo- 
Siberians, but it is possible that they are a people, like the 
Normans and Bulgarians, who have learnt the language of 
the conquered, and that a great infusion of Mongol blood 
in the past has profoundly modified the real type. 

Divisions. — There are, however, three types of Gilyak 
physiognomy, one of which approximates to the Ainu, 


another to the Mongol or Tungus, while the third is typically 
Gilyak. There is also a geographical distinction between those 
of the mainland and the two tribes which live on Sakhalin, 
Smerenkur on the west, and Tro on the east. 

Numbers. — Their numbers are now 4,649, of whom 2,556 
are males. They are dying out. Their women have few 
children. Six is considered a large family. Because the 
population is dwindling, clans have had sometimes to adopt 
individuals or whole groups. 

Relations with Russians. — The Gilyaks have been less spoilt 
by civilization than many tribes. They have been known 
to the Russians since the seventeenth century. For years 
they succeeded in keeping the Chinese traders out of their 
land, and they have not become demoralized by intercourse 
with Chinese and Japanese. But the acquisition of Gilyak 
land by Russian settlers has not had a good effect on them 

Social institutions. — They have a highly developed clan 
organization, with its common fire, common enemies, common 
obligations of revenge, and common thusind. The last is the 
name for the compensation exacted in place of blood -revenge 
and in recompense for certain crimes. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The typical Gilyak 
is below medium height, of stronger build than his Ainu or 
Tungus neighbours ; he has a well-developed chest, moder- 
ately broad shoulders, short neck and fairly big head, but 
small hands and feet. There is no superfluity of fat. The 
complexion is brown, the hair is less abundant than that of the 
Ainu, but grows longer on the head and more freely on the 
face than among the Mongols and Tungus. The eyes are 
small and sparkle with a dull light, the lips have been called 
\ voluptuous ', the nose is rather flat, the cheek-bones pro- 
minent, and the eyebrows are bushy. They do not shave 
the head, but wear the hair' tied up in a thick tail or in tresses. 

They are an energetic people and temperate in the use of 
spirits. They prize their tribal and individual liberty. 
Their principal faults seem to be avarice and covetousness, 
and the islanders have had a reputation for theft. Their 


aloofness from civilization has made them less ready than 
other tribes to adopt habits of cleanliness. 

Occupations. — The men's occupations are mainly hunting, 
fishing (for sturgeon, salmon, &c), and trading. They are 
adventurous in hunting the bear, but their courage is not 
equal to entering the water, and, though fishermen, the 
Gilyaks cannot as a rule swim. They are expert in the use 
of bow and arrows, and are good mountaineers. In rowing 
the Gilyaks scull, but pull the oars alternately. In fishing 
they use in some parts gill- nets and seines, and in others 
scoop-nets ; for their nets they use the stalks of the nettle in 
place of flax. 

The man's work takes him much from home ; a great deal 
of work at home is done by women, who occupy a low menial 
position. Slaves are bought from the Ainus and Goldi. 
They do not, however, hold or sell their own people as slaves. 
There are not many slaves, as a female slave costs more than 
a wife. The slaves have no rights at all ; they have to perform 
the heaviest housework, hewing wood and drawing water. 

Dwellings. — Their yurta is a wooden house, of which the 
interior is often divided into an ante-room and an inner 
room which is inhabited. In the centre of the room burns 
the fire with a hole in the roof above it for the smoke to escape. 
The windows are of fish-skin. The walls and the floors are 
made of trunks of trees, the interstices being filled up with 
birch bark or leaves, and the roof being covered with birch 
bark. They used to domesticate ermine to kill the rats and 
mice, and the Manchus supplied them with cats at a high 
price, but always castrated so as to keep the monopoly in 
their hands. Their winter dwellings are in small groups of 
from two or three to a dozen. In 39 villages Collins counted 
140 houses. 

Clothing, food. — In winter they dress in dog-skins or the 
skins of the fox or wolf. In summer they wear fish-skin, 
which has given them the name of Ywpitatse (' fish-skin 
people ') among the Chinese. They often wear blouses of 
Chinese pattern. Their boots are of seal-skin or sometimes 


cotton. Men and women dress much alike, but the woman's 
garb is distinguished by metal disks round the bottom of 
their blouses. The skins of salmon are stripped off very 
dexterously ; they are then beaten with a mallet, so as to 
remove the scales and render them supple. This gives them 
waterproof clothing. They live almost entirely on fish. 
But occasionally they eat animals killed in the chase and 
even dogs, as do the Ainu and American Indians. The fish 
is prepared with herbs, roots, and train oil ; sometimes they 
procure a little millet or rice from the Manchu and Japanese 
in exchange for furs. They do not cultivate the ground 
themselves. The use of bread, tea, salt, and sugar they have 
learnt from the Russians. Bread is regarded as a very great 

Marriage and death. — Chastity is not demanded in a bride. 
Marriage is exogamic. There seems to be no settled form of 
marriage, and there is a certain amount of polygamy. The 
price of a bride is the chief bar to polygamy, but it is on the 
other hand a great incentive to industry. 

Death is supposed to result from the action of evil spirits. 
Burial rites are of an imposing character. The body is first 
burnt on a funeral pyre, and a small wooden house is erected 
over the ashes after they have been carefully collected. 
The deceased's favourite dog, which has been previously 
fattened, is killed over the grave. 

Other customs : the tiger and the bear. — If a man has been 
killed by a tiger, superstition forbids any ceremonies at the 
burial of his body. The tiger is much feared, and his appear- 
ance is supposed to portend evil. Their most characteristic 
ceremonies are connected with the bear, who is called Mqfa 
(Chief Elder). There is a bear cage near every village, and 
in January of each year there is a solemn bear-sacrifice, and 
at other times a procession in which the bear takes a less 
exacting part. A bear must not be killed bjr surprise, for 
they fear his posthumous anger ; they always catch or kill 
him in fair fight. It is regarded as a happy death to be 
killed by a bear. 


Religion and superstition. — The highest benevolent god of 
the Gilyaks is Ytsigy according to Schrenk, but according to 
Sternberg they call him Kurn, by which name also they call the 
Universe. The ' owner ' of the mountain is called Pal 
the ' owner ' of the sea is Tol. Every natural object has 
a life of its own and an ' owner '. In their belief also Sak- 
halin conceals an immense deity. There are besides a great; 
number of spirits, good and bad. Such is their belief in the] 
gods' ordering of the world that they will not save a man 
from drowning for fear of thwarting the will of a heavenly 
power. Ancestor-worship permeates their religion, and 
supports their clan-system. They have many taboos, and 
among the most rigid of their restrictions is the custom by 
which no one but a clansman may remove fire from a yurta. 
This is so strict that a stranger must always be careful to 
finish a pipe before he leaves a house. The Gilyak seem to 
have been indebted to the Goldi for much in their ritual, 
customs, ideas, and art. 

Among the Gilyaks of Sakhalin are a number of isolated 
settlements of Oroke (aTungus tribe). The southern half of 
the island is inhabited by the Ainus (a Palaeo-Siberian tribe), 
but their habitat is entirely included in the part that belongs 
to Japan. 

Ostyaks or Yenisei 

Territory. — This tribe lives along the course of the middle 
Yenisei and its tributaries between Miroyedikha, near the 
mouth of the Lower Tunguska, and Yeniseisk. They are 
most numerous about Sumarokovo. They were probably 
once more widely extended. 

Name of the tribe. — Though called Ostyak, they have 
nothing to do ethnologically with the Ostyaks of the Ob 
basin. They do not even, it appears, belong to the Ural- 
Altaic stock. They call themselves Tindigyet, Kanacket and 
Din (people). 

Racial affinities and language. — Their origin presents a 
difficult problem, which seems to defy solution. They are 


thought to be a remnant of the primitive people who were 
the original inhabitants of Siberia, the centre of whose 
civilization was further south. Then language is unlike any 
other known tongue. Most of the river-names in the neigh- 
bourhood of the River Tom belong to it. 

Numbers. — They are now not as many as 1,000 in number, 
and they are diminishing. Their principal foes have been 
syphilis and alcohol, both of which have had deplorable 
effects in reducing their numbers. 

Relations with Russians. — They have become deeply in 
debt to Russian traders, sometimes owing as much as 500 
roubles. They do not intermarry or have sexual intercourse 
with Russians. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — Their faces are of 
two types : one is short and broad with heavy cheek-bones, 
typically brachycephalic, the other approximates more to the 
Aryan type, and is longer. Their hair, though dark, is finer 
and lighter than that of any other inhabitants of the Yenisei 
valley. They have not the chief Mongolian characteristics : 
e.g. their eyes are not oblique. 

Occupations. — Their principal occupations are hunting, 
fishing, and reindeer-breeding, but they have only taken to 
the last in recent times. They hunt elk and squirrels. For 
fishing they use canoes, not made of birch bark, but hollowed 
out of the trunks of trees. A bad season in fishing or squirrel- 
hunting impoverishes them badly, and epidemics of anthrax 
among their herds have brought about the decay of the tribe. 
But despite their poverty they seem a contented people. 
During the fishing season they live in birch-bark tents along 
the river banks. 

Costume. — The special feature to notice is the men's habit 
of wearing a handkerchief round the head, as is so often done 
by women in other lands. 

Religion. — Nominally members of the Russian Orthodox 
Church, they have remained comparativeh r faithful to their 
old traditions. 


The Aleuts are found in the Aleutian Islands, which now 
belong to America, but a few of them are found in the Com- 
mander Islands, off the coast of Kamchatka. They are of low 
stature, but well shaped ; they have dark faces, black eyes, 
long black hair and short necks. They are nominally Chris- 
tians, but seem to have assimilated more of the bad habits 
of professing Christians, than of their doctrines. 

11. The Neo-Siberian Tribes 

(i) Finno-Ugrian Tribes 

Territory. — The Lapps in Russia occupy the whole of the 
interior of the Kola Peninsula, and some live on the coast 
in the Ponoi district. They extend west into Norway, Fin- 
land, and Sweden. 

Name. — Their own name for themselves is Same, and for 
their country Sameland. 

Racial affinities and language. — The Lapps are a branch of 
the Finno-Ugrian tribe. Their language in some respects 
resembles the Mordvinian speech, but the general system of 
conjugation and declension is like Finnish, from which tongue, 
however, it differs phonetically bj^ its great number of diph- 
thongs and consonants. 

Numbers. — In 1897 there were 2,040 Lapps in Russia, of 
whom 1,590 were in the Kola Lapp district and 450 in the 
Ponoi district. 

Divisions. — Among the divisions in which the Lapps are 
grouped are the Lyavozersk Lapps and Ponoi Lapps. The 
former, numbering 349, are in four villages, and have been 
little influenced by Russian manners ; the latter, numbering 
450, are in six villages, and have been much influenced by 
Russian customs. The two groups speak a different dialect 
from one another and are mutually very suspicious. They 
are not divided, as in Finland, into Fisher and Reindeer 

LAPPS 129 

Lapps, but each family as a rule practises both occupations, 
tending reindeer in winter and fishing in summer. 

Relations with Russians. — Different parts of the country 
have been differently affected ; the most Russified have been 
the dwellers in the Ponoi district, and along the coast generally 
there has been much interbreeding with Russians and Nor- 
wegians. The race is losing its national characteristics and 
is degenerating. In 1897 the population of the whole of Kola 
Peninsula included 6,020 Russians, 850 Finns, 230 Norwegians, 
as opposed to 2,040 Lapps. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Lapps are 
the shortest and most brachycephalic race in Europe. They 
are a dwarfish and thick-set people. In complexion they are 
generally fair, with long shaggy hair, which is usually dark- 
brown, with a good deal of yellowish hair on the face, the 
beard being often cut to a point. The eyes are narrow, but 
set horizontally, the nose is broad, the mouth big, the chin 
pointed, the cheek-bones high and prominent, but not so 
prominent as those of the Samoyedes, who altogether have 
a more Mongolian look. They are cleaner and have more 
pleasant manners than the Samoyedes ; they are not intel- 
lectual, and, unlike the Finnish Lapps, from whom they also 
differ in dialect and creed, they are unable to read and write. 

Occupations. — In spring and summer the Lapp families 
engage in fishing, especially for salmon, in regions which the 
custom of each village defines fairly closely. The summer 
villages are found from 10 miles north of Voroninsk eastward 
to Paitspahk and the sources of the River Ponoi, and south 
to the Umpjavr Lake. Many of them migrate to the sea- 
coast with their reindeer. Lake Imandra, on the old post- 
road from Kola to Kandalaksha, both in summer and winter, 
has Lapp villages around it. Reindeer-breeding is their great 
occupation, but they are very unscientific and unbusinesslike 
in their attention to it. In summer, when they do not want 
the deer for travelling purposes, they let them roam in 
freedom, on the bare heights of the interior, when they become 
half -wild, breed at will, and sometimes stray away altogether. 


In winter they are left near the winter village, feeding on 
the reindeer ' moss ' which they reach through the snow 
by pawing with their hoofs. There they stay till some time 
in May, when the new-born calves can be marked. The 
consumption of the lichen necessitates the removal of the 
Lapps' villages every 15 or 20 years, but a minor migration 
takes place each year in April or May, when they pack up the 
windows and more valuable things, abandon the villages, 
and go off to their summer quarters. Each family generally 
possesses from fifty to two hundred reindeer, but real inde- 
pendence is only attained by those who have as many as three 
hundred. Really rich men have a thousand or more, but 
such wealth does not make them change their simple life. 
The boat-sledge in which the reindeer is driven is called 
kereoshka ; the Lapps drive without the harray or long pole 
which is customary among other reindeer peoples. Generally 
speaking their sledges and methods of driving are inferior to 
those of the Samoyedes. In winter the Lapps do some 
business in the transport of goods. They trade with Russians 
and Zirians, who exchange knives, powder, and other objects 
of barter for their reindeer- skins. They leave all enterprise 
on the sea itself to the Russians and Karelians. 

Dwellings. — The settlements of the Lapps are called 
pagosts. They have summer and winter villages, the former 
near the sea-coasts and lakes, the latter near the forests, 
where they herd their deer. The summer -dwelling, called 
a viezha, resembles a Samoyede chum, but is not covered with 
skins, but with branches, tree-bark, and turf. The winter- 
dwelling, called a twpa, is a small, smoky, sod-covered timber 
hut, some 150 to 200 square ft. in area. These huts are 
always in groups or villages. A good example of a Lapp 
settlement is the village of Lyavozerski, on the west of the 
Lujavr lake and on the south bank of the Varmyok stream. 
In 1887 it contained 61 males and 63 females, in 19 woode 
huts and 7 turf huts. The church was nearly two miles 
the west, where the village had originally been, until want 
wood and lichen caused its transference. 





LAPPS 131 

Clothing and food. — In summer the Lapps dress like Russian 
peasants, common features being a grey cloth jacket and high 
woollen cap with a tassel at the top. There is nothing 
distinctive about the women's dress, which is usually a calico 
sarafan. The Lapp has no strong prejudices in favour of 
a national costume, and is ready to wear whatever he can get 
hold of. In winter they wear garments of reindeer skin. 

he pesk is a fur garment with the hair outside, somewhat 
ike the Samoyede suvik, but without the mittens being 
ttached to the garment. Instead of a hood they have 
detachable caps. They wear short fur boots, known as 
hadzhi, and also longer boots made of reindeer-skin, called 
yerra, with the hair removed above the knee. 

Throughout the winter they have for food reindeer-flesh 
and dried and salted fish. At various times they get snow- 
chickens, water-fowl and their eggs, and berries. 

Religion. — They have assimilated Russian religion, just 
as they have assimilated Russian customs, but it may be 
questioned whether the adoption is not even more external. 
They have a name for being very superstitious, and an 
association of wizardry and vaticination goes with the name 
of the Lapp. 


Territory. — The bulk of the people of this name live in the 
Governments of Olonets and Arkhangel, and there are con- 
siderable numbers at Tver and Novgorod. The country which 
bears their name is part of the district of Kem in the Govern- 
ment of Arkhangel, lying to the north of Pomorland or 

Racial affinities and language. — They are closely allied to 
the Finns, but are a distinct tribe, and show certain differences 
as the result of having come much more under Russian than 
Swedish influence. They are first mentioned in the ninth 
century. The tribe to which they belong overran most of 
the south-west coast of the White Sea till the fourteenth 
century, when they spread eastward and occupied the banks 

i 2 


of the Dvina. They speak a tongue like, but distinct from, the 
Finnish of Finland : the spoken tongue is corrupt and has 
become mixed with a number of Russian words, but among 
the Karelians farther to the south-west was collected the 
Kalevala, the great Finnish epic. 

Relations with Russians. — They have come much under 
Russian influence, and, unlike the Finns, have never been sub- 
ject to any other European nation. But owing to their 
remoteness they have preserved their customs more than their 
western neighbours. Those of them who live near Russian 
settlements can usually speak Russian, though they speak 
their own language among themselves. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Karelians 
resemble Russians : their eyes are usually blue, their hair 
is brown or ruddy ; their forehead is low with hair clipped 
down over it, level with their eyebrows and hanging down 
evenly behind. They are slighter in build and better pro- 
portioned than the Finns. They show themselves more 
enterprising, vivacious, and sociable, but they exhibit less 

Occupations. — Their occupations are very various. Agri- 
culture means a great struggle against the forces of nature. 
The best and most lucrative employment is the felling, trans- 
port and floating of timbers for the saw-mills. River- and 
lake-fishing provide only a small income, and have nothing 
but local importance ; but they also do sea-fishing in the Gulf 
of Kandalaksha for salmon, herring, and marine animals. 
Hunting of game in the forests was profitable, but it has died 
out since the law in 1892 against trapping. The people require 
good guns to secure success again. The carrying trade with 
Finland was more prosperous before the Finns opened a shop 
in almost every village, a step which greatly reduced their 
trade with the Karelians. 

Houses and furniture. — The Karelian houses are built on 
a sort of permanent scaffolding : they are reached by ladders. 
The door is generally on the left, and a corridor divides the 
rest of the habitation from the store -shed. On the ground 


are sheep-pens and cattle-sheds. The kitchen utensils are 
poor, consisting as a rule of nothing but a kettle, a water-tub 
and a few spoons. Only those who are well-to-do have any- 
thing like a samovar, but earthenware is imported from 

Clothing and food. — The men wear an outer dress of grey 
cloth, somewhat like the smock frock of the Little Russians, 
underclothing of coarse linen, and boots of yellowish leather 
with leggings attached. Their head-dress is anything that 
they can find in the way of hats or caps. The women's smock- 
frock is much like that of the men, and they wear a sarafan 
of striped or printed calico. For footgear they have shoes 
and for headgear kerchiefs or headbands. In winter long 
sheep-skin coats are worn. Those who traffic across the border 
of their district are apt to imitate town fashions. 

Their principal food is ukha or tchi (a soup of fish and 
vegetables). Most mix their flour with bark and straw. On 
holidays they eat fish-cakes (ribniki) : on fast-days their fare 
is salted mushrooms and edible fungi stewed with turnips and 
potatoes. When the harvest is good, they brew a sort of 
country beer, called braga, but vodka is not drunk among 
them. Tea is a luxury of the rich, but is much appreciated 
when obtained. 

Religion. — They belong to the Orthodox Church. 


Territory. — This important tribe is found in the Governments 
of Perm, Vologda, and Arkhangel : it inhabits part of the 
Pechora district of the Arkhangel province, and the whole of 
the Ust-Sisolsk district and two-thirds of the Yarensk district 
of the province of Vologda. Its centre is Ust-Izhma. Formerly 
the Zirians extended further west. 

Name. — There are many forms in which their name is spelt : 
they are known variously as Syryenians, Zyrenians, Sirianians, 
Zirianians, Zyrians and Zirians. Their own name for them- 
selves, however, is Kami. 

Racial affinities and language. — Like the Permyaks and 


Votyaks, they are part of the Permian' branch of the Finns. 
Their language was early reduced to writing, but they have 
no literature nor written memorials. It is sufficiently like the 
language of the Permyaks for the two peoples to be mutually 
intelligible. It is freely supplemented by Russian words and 
has a Samoyedic element in the vocabulary associated with 
reindeer, for they have derived from the Samoyedes the art 
of breeding and herding deer. A grammar of their tongue 
has been published by the celebrated Finn, Castren. 

Numbers. — It is estimated that there are 85,000 altogether 
in European Russia, and another 1,000 in Asia along the 
lower Ob. In 1899 they formed 60 per cent, of the population 
of the Pechora district, distributed as follows : 1,780 in Ust- 
Kozhvinskoe, 1,730 in Kevda, 5,590 in Krasnoborsk and 12,000 
in Mokhcha, the total number being 21,120. 

Relations with Russians. — In the ninth century the Finns 
and Russians were living in amity together in north Russia, 
the Finns paying tribute. The Zirians have been in constant- 
relations with the Russians, have learnt much from them, 
and are likely to be absorbed by them. It seems probable 
that they will lose their language : they sing Russian songs 
without any idea of their meaning, and have adopted much 
that is Russian in customs and costume. The most important 
change is that they are ceasing to be nomadic. They have 
assimilated the village institutions of the Russians. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Zirians arc 
a people of medium stature and robust frames : they are 
blond and grey eyed : they do not differ greatly in appearance 
from an ordinary peasant of Arkhangel. The best Zirians 
are those that dwell about Ust-Izhma, and those who live at 
Mokhcha. These are vigorous and vivacious, and devote 
themselves with success to commerce. The other Zirians are 
apt to be inert and unenterprising. Outwardly the Zirians 
are very devout, and most of their villages have a well-built 
church. They are noted for their hospitality even when 
they are very poor. Their morals are inclined to be easy. 

Occupations. — Their chief source of prosperity is reindeer- 


breeding, an occupation in which they have been engaged 
for a very long time. The prosperity of the Mokhcha and 
Izhma Zirians can be seen from the numbers of reindeer which 
they possess. In the Pechora district in 1896 there were 
276,315 head of reindeer. Of these the Samoyedes owned 
49,950, the Mokhcha Zirians 194,520, the Russians and other 
Zirians 35,245. A herd of 500 reindeer is calculated to bring 
in £50 per annum clear profit, and single Zirians possess as 
many as 4,000 reindeer each. They employ Samoyedes on 
wages as labourers and herdsmen. They seldom know them- 
selves how many deer they possess. They slaughter about 
one-fifth of their stock annually. The Zirians are also engaged 
in agriculture, hunting, and trade. The cross-Ural trade in 
the wares of the Samoyedes is very largely in their hands. 

Dwellings. — The Zirians live in log-houses (kerkas), of much 
the same style as those of Russian peasants. The house has 
two rooms, one a rather untidy living-room, with a Russian 
stove (i. e. a brick stove built into the wall) in it ; the second, 
a reception-room, only used on particular occasions, with 
a Dutch stove in it. Between the two rooms is an entrance- 
hall, which opens into a poviet or general store-shed. This 
store-shed is entered by a sloping incline of logs. Often a 
steam bath-house is found near by, beside a river. The Zirians 
use the bath-house several times in the week, and in summer 
plunge straight from the bath-house into the river. Their 
villages are often of substantial wooden houses. In places like 
Ust-Izhma and Mokhcha, where there are well-to-do Zirians, 
there are houses of two stories. In their case the lower floor is 
like an ordinary Jcerka, as above described, but the upper 
floor has a sort of drawing-room, with stuccoed ceiling and 
painted floor covered with reindeer skins. 

Clothing and food. — The ordinary winter costume is a 
malitsa made of reindeer skin : this is a huge fur overcoat, in 
form like a sack, worn with the fur inside, having a high 
collar and mittens attached to the sleeves. The suvik is a 
larger malitsa worn with the fur outside and having a hood 
sewn to the collar. The Zirians wear high boots (pimi) with 


the fur outside ; in summer they wear no cap, but only 
a sort of hood. 

Their principal articles of diet are meat, fish, and milk : 
bread and vegetables have only a secondary place. They are 
slovenly in dressing their meals, never washing meat or fish ; 
the latter they find it difficult to keep, owing to scarcity of 
salt. They are fond of vodka, with deplorable results ; they 
also brew from barley -malt a sort of Icvas and beer. They 
appreciate tea, but they mix it with pepper, onions, and 

Religion. — They were converted to Christianity in the 
fourteenth century by St. Stephen, who translated the gospels 
into the Zirian tongue. They are members of the Orthodox 


Territory. — The Voguls (also known as the Maniza) are found 
on both sides of the Ural Mountains, but the bulk of them 
live between the mountains and the Irtish and Ob, extending 
as far north as the River Sosva : they are most numerous 
about the River Konda. The European Voguls are found in 
the Government of Perm, between the headwaters of the 
Pechora and the Urals. Formerly they extended further 
south and west. 

Racial affinities and language. — They are a branch of the 
Ugrians, and so a Finnic people : their language is akin to 
the Hungarian and to the Ostyak speech. 

Numbers. — Their numbers were estimated in 1912 as being 
7,476, of whom 3,720 were males. Of this total about 2,000 
live in Europe and the rest in Siberia. They appear to be 
decreasing in numbers. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — They are not 
unlike the Ostyaks, having round broad faces, broad noses, 
prominent cheek-bones, and black hair, and are small in 
stature. They are said to be the least sociable of the Siberian 

Occupations. — Like the Ostyaks, they are mostly hunters 
and fishers : they have little pasturage, and practically no 


agriculture. There are certain rules for the preservation of 
game that they scrupulously observe : they remain only a 
certain time in one encampment, and no encampment may 
have more than five yurts in it, and they must be at least 
ten miles from any other encampment, because the smoke 
from their dwellings drives away game. Consequently they 
live in isolated groups, a practice which would either encourage 

(heir lack of sociability or account for their reputation as 
msociable. They rear reindeer, but have few horses. They 
rade with Samoyedes, Ostyaks, or Russians, principally in 
urs, going as far north as Obdorsk for commercial purposes. 
Clothing and food. — They usually wear Russian dress. 
They either make or used to make summer clothing of nettles 
gathered in September, and woven into garments. Their 
food is principally fish or reindeer meat. A somewhat liberal 
interpretation of what was fit for food has become more 
restricted with the growth of civilization. 

Marriage and death. — A hunter may have more than one 
wife, according to his means, but the union is easily dissolved 
and the husband often lives alone. When a Vogul dies the body 
is taken out not through the door, but by a window or specially 
made hole. The graveyard is usually in a forest, the body 
being brought there by reindeer, which have to be slaughtered 
in a particular manner. The body is laid in a boat or in a coffin 
shaped like a boat. After the funeral there follows a feast. 

Religion. — They are nominally Christians, but a good deal 
of Shamanism survives among them. 

Other Finnic Tribes 

The other Finnic tribes fall outside the scope of this book. 
The Permyaks are scarcely to be distinguished from the 
Zirians, whose language they can understand. They are 
found in the Government of Perm, and particularly on the 
River Kama. The Votyaks are a numerous race, about 
250,000, found in the south-eastern part of the Government 
of Vyatka ; they are physically weak, and have no striking 
mental qualities. The Volga Finns, the Mordvinians, number 


about 1,860,000, and live on the middle Volga about Kazan, 
Kostroma, and Vyatka, and also in Ufa and Orenburg. 

Ugrian Ostyaks 

Territory. — The Ostyaks live in the region of the lower 
Irtish and the lower Ob from its junction with the Irtish to 
lat. 67° N. Eastward they extend as far as the Tomsk district 
and the Yenisei. At the time of the Russian Conquest their 
abodes extended much further than now. Remains of their 
fortified places, destroyed by the Cossacks in the sixteenth 
century, are to be seen in several parts of the country, many of 
them being found in the neighbourhood of Obdorsk. 

Name. — They call themselves As Chui or As Yakh (i. e. 
people of the Ob), and of this the name Ostyak by which 
they are called is a corruption, unless it is a corruption of the 
Tartar name for them Uemtak ( = barbarians). The northern 
Ostyaks call themselves Handocko (= the men). 

Racial affinities and language. — They belong to the Finno- 
Ugrian tribe, and are members of that Ugrian branch of which 
the Vogul and Magyar are also members. They are closely 
related to the Vogul, but that did not prevent them from being 
constantly engaged in warfare with them till both were 
conquered by the Russians. They all speak one language, 
but there are three or four leading dialects. The speech of 
the Ostyaks round Berezov is like Vogul and so different from 
the language of the Ostyaks round Obdorsk that the dwellers 
in the two districts cannot understand one another. The 
Ugrian languages seem to have become separated from the 
other Finnish tongues before the development of the system 
of conjugations and declensions. The Hungarian tongue has 
come much under European influence and is much more 
highly developed than either Ostyak or Vogul, but it presents 
certain close affinities. The Ostyak has a difficulty in pro- 
nouncing the letter /. The purest dialect is said to be at 

Numbers. — The numbers estimated in 1912 were 17,221, 
of whom 9,012 were males. The numbers seem to be de- 


creasing ; infant mortality is very high, and they are much 
afflicted by famine. 

Divisions. — The Ostyaks are ordinarily divided into Ob 
Ostyaks and Irtish Ostyaks. The difference is not merely 

■geographical, for the Irtish Ostyaks are superior in develop- 
ment to the rest of their race ; they lead a more settled life 
than the Ob Ostyaks who are mostly nomadic. The ' Ostyaks ' 
of the Yenisei are a wholly different race. 

Relations with Russians. — In the fifteenth century the 
Irtish Ostyaks were much influenced by Syrgan settlers from 
East Russia, and in the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries 
they were much influenced by the Tartars. In 1897 certain 
southern Ostyak villages still spoke Tartar, and Mohammedan 
influence appears in certain popular customs, for instance, 
in the avoidance of eating pork, and in the custom of women 
covering their faces before strangers. Russian civilization 
has for years now been making great advances, chiefly through 
the marriage of Ostyak men with Russian women, rather 
than vice versa. Thus many Ostyak villages in the Irtish 
region speak only Russian, and although old men may speak 
Ostyak, the young men are not learning the tongue of their 
fathers. The trade between the Ostyak fishers and the 
Russian merchants from whom they purchase corn for bread, 
the use of which has become greatly extended, has helped 
the Russification of the Ob Ostyaks ; and another aid to this 
result is the adherence of the Ostyaks, at any rate nominally, 
to the Orthodox Church. They pay yassak, but are free from 
military service. 

Social institutions. — A tribal system has never taken root 
among the Ostyaks. They are divided into clans each of which 
is really a large family. Groups of the same are ruled by a 
knyaz (prince) an hereditary office. The clans are artificially 
divided by the Russians into radi with territorial names. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Ostyaks as 
a whole are a people of only moderate stature, generally about 
5 ft. 3 ins., to 5 ft. 4 ins. In type they are dolichocephalic, 
long-headed, as distinct from the Samoyedes who are 


br achy cephalic, their heads being almost as wide as they 
are long. As the region of the Ostyaks approaches the 
Samoyede country, the brachycephalic type appears among 
them too. 

The more northerly Ostyaks are not quite so well developed 
as those of the south. These latter are well built and have 
a distinctly thick-set appearance. All, however, look much 
the same ; they have round, flat faces, broad and rather flat 
noses, projecting cheek-bones, dark, narrow eyes, and yellow 
or yellow-grey complexions. Their hair is long, smooth, and 
black, or chestnut coloured. There is very little hair on the 
face ; in the northern regions the Ostyaks appear to pluck 
it out. The Mongolian type is more noticeable among the 
women than the men. The purest type is found among the 
fishers of the Ob, for the reindeer -keepers are largely inter- 
mingled with the Samoyedes. 

In temperament they are kind, gentle, and friendly ; they 
are very honest except in the neighbourhood of Russian 
settlements, where the contact of civilization has made them 
adopt ' business methods '. 

Knowledge and art. — In general the Ostyaks cannot read 
or write. In the Little Konda volost, some villages have 
been taught to read and write by discharged soldiers, and 
in the Atlimskoe villages on the Ob they are completely 
Russified. But the ordinary Ostyaks have now given up 
even sign- writing. They understand counting by tens, but 
have no knowledge of figures. They are skilled in handicraft, 
carving in wood and bone, and making beautiful decorations 
by scratching on bark, to ornament their vessels and baskets. 
The women make fine embroidery on linen woven by them- 
selves from nettle, hemp, or flax. Hemp or flax is obtained 
from merchants ; the nettle is gathered locally, dried, broken, 
and the fluff separated from the cover. Beautiful ornaments 
are also made with beads. The Irtish Ostyaks have a fairly 
good colour sense, through contact with Russians, but those 
of the north and east have little capacity for distinguishing 
between different shades. They reckon distances by the 


Hip, or Ostyak verst, which is five times longer than a 
Russian verst. For smaller measures, they have the fathom, 
which is the distance between the extremities of two out- 
stretched arms, from finger-tip to finger-tip, or from the 
ground to the finger-tips of the upraised hand of a man of 
middling stature. They measure also by a span, the distance 
between the points of thumb and forefinger, and by the 
breadth of the middle of the hand, from forefinger to little 
finger. One hundred paces is sometimes expressed as ' as 
far as a marksman can shoot ' (with an arrow). The smallest 
measure of time for the Ostyaks used to be the time required 
for a kettle to boil — something under one hour (see p. 165). 
Sunday is the only day of the week which has a proper name. 
The rest are numbered, 1st, 2nd, 3rd from Monday onwards. 

The Ostyak' s folk lore is tinged with sadness. They have 
an original music and poetry, improvised ballads accompanied 
with pantomimic action, and they also indulge in dancing. 
Their musical instruments are the dombra, which is a long 
instrument of pine-wood, shaped like a boat, with five strings 
of reindeer-sinews, and the ' swan ', an instrument in the form 
of a bird with eight or ten strings of brass wire. Their idea of 
medicine is to bleed patients with an instrument consisting 
of a pike's jawbone fixed on a wooden shaft. They encourage 
even children to smoke tobacco, as a means of preventing 
throat and lung trouble. 

Occupations. — In point of development, they stand between 
the nomadic and the settled stage of existence. They are 
not pure nomads, for most of them have fixed dwellings, 
which they inhabit in winter. On the other hand, they have 
practically no agriculture ; only in the south in the volosts 
of the Narim and upper Demyanka do they till the soil. 
The rest of the Ostyaks maintain themselves chiefly by 
fishing and hunting, living in wooden or earth huts in winter, 
and leading a nomadic life in tents during the summer. 
A small proportion, in company with the Samoyedes, own 
reindeer -herds in the neighbourhood of Berezov and Surgut. 
The farther north they dwell, the more nomadic and less 


developed are the Ostyaks. They use tents in summer rather 
than huts and depend mainly on the reindeer for providing 
them with food, clothing, and the means of transport. 

Although the lower Irtish lands are suitable for agriculture, 
the Ostyaks there, as elsewhere, devote themselves to fishing, 
hunting, and the collecting of berries and nuts. Such 
agriculture as there is, is done by Russian inhabitants. The 
harvest and fishing seasons synchronize ; Russian peasant 
families engage in both occupations, by dividing the work 
among the various members of their family. But the Ostyaks 
are said to have too small families to do this. 

Fishing, although very good on the Irtish and Ob, is not 
very highly developed among the Ostyaks. They use chiefly 
Russian fishing tackle, and as this is expensive, the villages 
or families to whom the best water or sandbanks belong, 
lease out these to Russians, for rents varying from 20 to 
300 roubles (£2 2s. U. to £31 Is. 6d.) for a good fishing station ; 
as much as 1,270 roubles (£135) has been paid for a sandbank 
in the Ob, with a neighbouring by-stream. Those who do 
not possess suitable sandbanks fish for themselves and gain 
100 to 140 roubles per man. They catch sturgeon through 
the ice in winter by ingenious methods. 

Hunting of the elk and reindeer goes on in the regions of 
the Irtish and Ob, chiefly in winter. The Ostyaks hunt on 
snow-shoes, with dogs, and use muskets of an antique pattern, 
often flint-locks, produced near Tobolsk at a price of from 
2£ to 4 J roubles (5s. 4d. to 9s. Id.). In remoter districts, 
even in the Irtish river system, bows and arrows were used 
at any rate in recent years, chiefly for shooting squirrels and 
ducks. Hunting brings in from 40 to 80 roubles per man. 
Forest-fires have greatly decreased its value. The skin of 
an elk brings in 5 to 6 roubles (10s. Qd. to 12s. 9d.) locally, 
that of a reindeer 1 to 1-50 roubles (2s. Id. to 3s. 3d.). 

The gathering of cranberries and cedar-nuts affords con- 
siderable employment to the Ostyaks, and it requires little 
or no capital. The woods are leased out by the village 
communities which own them, as are the fishing-stations. 


The cranberry hedges are burnt out about every ten years, 
to get rid of old growths. The cedar-nut woods have suffered 
not merely from forest-fires, but from cutting for building- 
purposes. The best cranberry hedges are in the Konda 
district, where one man can gather 36 to 48 lb. a day, and 
one family during the season can collect 13 cwt. to 2\ tons. 

In the eastern districts where the cedar-woods have suffered 
from fire and cutting, the economic condition of the Ostyaks 
has deteriorated. Formerly a family made £10 to £20 from 
collecting cedar-nuts ; now in a good year, which means 
about one in four, they make £4 to £7. The average price is 
2 J roubles (5s. M.) per pud (36 lb.). The woods belong to 
the village communities ; any one can procure the right to 
gather nuts in a wood during the season for 1 to 1| roubles 
(2s. Id. to 35. 3d.). 

Horses and horned cattle are kept only for household 
purposes. Milk is used in the family ; in the Irtish district 
a little is made into butter and sold. 

Most of the good agricultural land in the Irtish district 
has passed into the hands of Russian peasants. The rest of 
the land is held by the village communities, which lease it out, 
but cannot legally alienate it, as it is Crown land and pays 
tribute. But as Ostyaks die out, the Russian Government 
acquiesces in their land passing to energetic Russian peasants. 

Economic conditions. — There is a remarkable system of 
credit among the Ostyaks. Fish, meat, and berries do not 
supply all they require ; they need in addition bread ; tobacco, 
tea, and brandy are also in common use. A male Ostyak 
has also to pay something over six roubles (12s. 9d.) in direct 
taxes. To obtain ready money for all this, they could sell 
their wares in town, but the time and expense involved in 
transporting goods over a distance of, say, 60 to 200 miles is 
prohibitive. To meet this difficulty there are Russian traders 
who supply the Ostyaks with flour, tobacco, &c, also with 
money to pay taxes, sufficient for the year's needs. In return 
they receive the raw products of the Ostyak. At the end of 
the year, the value of these is reckoned against the value 


of the goods advanced by the trader. If there is a balance 
in favour of the Ostyak, it is given to him in goods ; if there 
is an adverse balance, it is carried over against him to the 
next year as a debt in the trader's books. The cheapest 
wares, such as fish, are only taken by the trader for sale on 
commission, in the town. The sum received is handed over 
to the Ostyak, minus the commission, and minus the cost of 
transportation, which is 10 to 15 kopeks for 100 versts, about 
2\d. to 4d. for 66 miles. The Ostyaks cannot read or write, 
and therefore have to trust to the trader to keep his books 
properly. Among the northern Ostyaks, where the same 
credit system prevails, a notched stick is used for registering 
values ; the stick is split, and one half is kept by the creditor, 
the other half by the debtor. The Russian trader makes 
considerable gains, with a capital varying from 20 to 100,000 
roubles (£2 to £10,500). But he may also suffer considerable 
losses if an Ostyak on his books dies in debt. 

Ostyaks appear to be seldom free from debt. They quickly 
spend the money which they obtain for leases of river-stations, 
and then often become mere labourers at the rate of about 
3 roubles (6s. 5d.) per month to those to whom they have 
granted leases. 

Dwellings. — An Ostyak village numbers from four to twenty 
houses, arranged without any order. Besides such winter 
villages, there are summer villages, consisting of huts of 
beams roughly put together, used only during the fishing 
season. But the southern Ostyaks have given up the use 
of these, and make a living by residing continuously in their 
winter villages. Fishers who go off on fishing expeditions 
together, erect a temporary hut and live in it as if one family 

The fixed dwellings of the Ostyaks are of two kinds. To the 
north and east they are made of earth, but about Tobolsk and 
Berezov of timber. These last are of one, very occasionally 
of two stories, like those of the neighbouring Russian peasants. 
The windows are generally of glass , but sometimes only 
of skin. The houses have one, two, or three rooms, but in 
winter the whole family lives in one room, on account of the 


cold. Round this room are benches fixed to the wall ; 
there are holy pictures, an enormous table, a great wooden 
bedstead, and a stove built of clay. The earth-huts of the 
other Ostyaks are of the same pattern, but on a much smaller 

Icale. Near the winter dwellings of the Ostyaks are sheds 
or stores. The horses are kept away from the house, generally 
11 the open, sometimes in a wooden shelter ; horned cattle 
,re provided with a shelter. 
Clothing and food. — The Irtish Ostyaks are in the habit of 
rearing Russian apparel, except that in winter some of them 
tdopt the Samoyede costume, as indeed Russians do too. 
This consists of an outer garment and an inner garment 
malitsa) both made of dog-skin or reindeer-skin, and a fur 
cap. The rest of the Ostyaks wear much the same dress as 
this in winter. In summer they wear only one skin-garment 
with another of red cloth above it. Leathern trousers, leathern 
stockings, a belt with requisites hanging from it, and shoes 
of reindeer-skin complete their costume. The women wear 
stockings made of fish-skin : otherwise their dress does not 
differ from that of men, except that they have a piece of 
drapery with which to cover their faces. 

For food they eat mainly reindeer-flesh and fish, preferring 
to eat them raw. They regard the former as a great preventive 
of scurvy. Poziom (dried fish) and varka (the stomach and 
entrails of fish soaked in oil) are much eaten by them. From 
Russian merchants they have learnt the use of bread, and it 
is spreading among them. They make what is called burduk 
of meal boiled with water and fish-bones. 

Marriage and death. — Marriage is exogamous, though the 
clans are not composed of blood-relations. A price is paid 
for the bride. 

The Ostyaks are buried in forests. No grave is dug, but 
the body is laid on the ground and covered with inverted 
skins. In the north they still bury the dead in canoes. 

Religion. — For about a century the Ostyaks have been 
baptized, and Christianity has made some progress among 
them. On the Irtish and Ob the old customs are largely 


forgotten, but in the north the nomadic reindeer-breeding 
Ostyaks are still pagan. They recognize good and bad gods, 
and pay homage to the god of the thunder and the spirit of 
the River Ob. 

A special sanctity attaches to the bear. They swear their 
most solemn oaths over its pate, and when they have killed 
and eaten one they are careful to collect and bury its bones. 
The loss of one will entail some mischance at the next bear 
hunt. They apologize to the bear for killing him, saying that 
the real responsibility rests not with them, but with the Russian 
who supplied the gun and gunpowder. 

(ii) Samoyedic Tribes 

Territory. — This important tribe extends along the north 
coast of European and Asiatic Russia from the shores of 
the White Sea to the banks of the River Khatanga. They are 
most numerous in the province of Arkhangel. In old accounts 
of voyages Samoedia was always the country between the 
Pechora and the Ob, but they really extend almost to the 
Lena. They have come northwards from the Altai, driven 
out by the Turco-Tartars in the fifth century a. d., and they 
may be the people traces of whose primitive civilization are 
found in the valley of the upper Yenisei. Their present mode 
of life recalls the ' reindeer-civilization ' of primaeval times in 
middle Europe. 

Name. — There are various spellings of the name : the form 
adopted in this book is that most frequent in literature, but 
the pronunciation seems to be more like Sam-yad. The word 
has been supposed to mean ' self -eaters ', or has been other- 
wise explained as 'raw-eaters'. Probably, however, it has no 
such barbarous connotation, but is to be associated with 
Suomi, the name by which the inhabitants of Finland call 
their country. The Lapps and Karelians also have similar 
names for themselves. The Samoyedes call themselves 
Hazovo (i. e. the men), and Nyanyaz ; the Ostyaks call them 


Orghoy and Vorkho, names which recall the word Ugrians, 
by which name the inhabitants on both sides of the Ural are 
called. The name Samoyede occurs in a chronicle of 1096. 

Racial affinities and language. — They are usually distin- 
guished from the Finno-Ugrian tribes, but are closely allied 
(to them. The language resembles Finnish, but has more 
suffixes : it is agglutinative and polysyllabic, and is sonorous 
and pleasant to hear. There are three dialects and twelve 
sub -dialects. 
X umbers. — It is difficult to be at all sure of the numbers, 
as the methods and dates of computation in Europe and 
Asia differ. A rough estimate of the numbers is about 20,000. 
In Arkhangel province in 1897 there were computed to be 
6,748, and in Asia in 1912 they were estimated at 12,502. 
In Novaya Zemlya there are about 100 Samoyede settlers. 
Another reason for caution in dealing with the question of 
Samoyede numbers is the uncertainty whether they include 
the southern tribes closely allied to the Samoyedes. There has 
been a slight increase at any rate in Europe since the middle 
of last century, and probably the gloomy prognostications 
that the race will die out are unwarranted, as they are better 
adapted to the land in which they live than any one else. 
But their marriages are not very fertile, one mother seldom 
having more than two or three children, and they have to 
face four deadly foes, syphilis, scurvy, small-pox, and spirits. 
Divisions. — Of the Samoyedes proper there are four main 
divisions : 

(1) The Yuraks, who extend from the White Sea to the 
Yenisei, a vigorous, brave people, who are mostly reindeer- 
nomads, but who also do some hunting and fishing and show 
great daring in their expeditions. Their chief centres are 
in the neighbourhood of Obdorsk, where there are about 
6,000 of them, and near the Gulf of Mezen, where there are 
about 5,000. There are five sub-dialects of their speech. 

(2) The Tavgi live in the Taimir Peninsula from the 
Yenisei to Khatanga Bay. There are about 1,000, most of 
whom are reindeer-nomads. 

k 2 


(3) The Ostyak-Samoyedes, whose number is uncertain, but 
who are estimated at about 3,000, live in the zone between 
the tundra and the taiga. They are almost entirely hunters, 
there being merely a few reindeer-nomads in the northern 
part of the district, and they own but few reindeer. 

(4) The Y enisei- Samoyedes live along the Yenisei : they 
live mostly by fishing, do some hunting and only to a slight 
extent are reindeer-nomads. There are only about 350 of 

There is further subdivision into tribes : for instance in 
the Yamal Peninsula there are ten different tribes, each with 
its fixed boundaries for reindeer -pasture. 

Relations with Russians. — Their connexion with the Russians, 
at any rate in Europe, is of long standing : in the eleventh 
century we hear of them paying tribute to the Novgorodians. 
Their present relations with their Russian masters are believed 
to be good, but a readiness to do work without pay suggests, 
apart from their natural willingness to oblige, traditions of 
forced labour. They have been protected in their occupation 
of the tundras by law since the sixteenth century, and they 
resist and resent encroachments on the part of the Russians 
and Zirians, but, being bad men of business, they easily fall 
into a position of dependence upon them. They have been 
impoverished in the south by the loss of their hunting-grounds, 
as Russian civilization has spread northward. On the Yenisei 
the fisher-folk are less independent than the other Samoyedes, 
and the Russian traders are apt to be despotic with them. 
But there is certainly no general desire to grind them down or 
treat their rights disrespectfully : the adult Yurak pays an 
annual tax of about £1, which is not a very heavy impost. 

Social institutions. — In 1835 the Samoyedes were given 
considerable powers of self-government. In their own affairs 
they are governed by starshinas (elders or mayors) — the name 
has generally replaced the earlier one of knyaz (prince) — one 
of whom is elected for each tundra. He is the intermediary 
between the Samoyedes and the Russian administration : 
he is the ruler and judge of his little community, collects the 


yassak (tribute) and pays it in to the Russian Government. 

All offences except the most serious are settled according to 

leir own customs. A further law of 1892 recognized and 

motioned native councils ; the munyah meets annually, 

Leir meetings being held in winter; there must be a repre- 

mtative of each clan present ; women are excluded from 

ie meetings. The starshina is elected for three years. Russian 

luence has greatly strengthened his hands, and his power 

probably greater than when he had the more exalted title. 

Physical abearance and characteristics. — Accounts of the 

miperament and stature of the Samoyedes differ as much as 

lo those of their numbers. It is probably difficult to generalize 

about a people so widely extended and so markedly divided. 

In height there is a general agreement that they are short : 

a man 5 ft. 6 ins. would be accounted a giant, and the men 

are about 4 inches taller than the women. In appearance 

they resemble the Ostyaks, but they are brachycephalic, 

or rather, mesocephalic. They have straight, glossy, black 

hair, which is usually bound with thongs in two bunches ; 

their skin is sallow ; their eyes narrow, oblique, and far apart ; 

their faces broad, flat, and round ; the nose flat and open ; 

the cheekbones prominent ; the lips thick. They are mostly 

beardless. They are often of good appearance despite their 

short stature, are stoutly built and very muscular. 

There is some admixture of Russian blood, and the race is 
found to be less pure in the west than in the east. On the 
west side of the Pechora a Slavonic and Teutonic strain shows 
itself in the breed : so there are some Samoyedes in these 
parts with light hair, fair skins, and eyes ' of Gothic type '. 

Travellers differ as to their honesty, but the general verdict 
is in their favour : at any rate they are known to adhere 
strictly to their word when given. They have energy and 
natural intelligence, but are thriftless. They are sociable, 
and extremely hospitable, both to strangers and their fellow 
tribesmen : they are constantly smiling and laughing, and 
delight in gossip ; they are very fond of children, who treat 
their elders with confidence and without fear. They are 


more independent than the Ostyaks, and the Yuraks especially 
are brave and daring. They are a dirty people, and never 
wash ; nor do they change their clothes, until they are worn 
out. But their teeth are white, partly because they arc 
accustomed to chew pine-resin. They are fond of music, 
though their music is much less developed than that of the 
Ostyaks, being rudimentary and monotonous. But the Samo- 
yede likes to possess himself of the dumbra of the Ostyak. 

Occupations. — The chief occupations are reindeer-breeding, 
hunting, and fishing ; before their northward migration they 
practised agriculture, but very few practise it now. The 
Yuraks and Tavgi are mainly reindeer-breeders, and, as such, 
nomadic ; but the Samoyedes are capable of settling down. 
At Kozhva, in the Arkhangel province, where there is some 
stationary population (in 1892 there were 38 huts) the people 
are engaged partly in growing barley, partly in rearing cattle, 
partly in fishing. But the Samoyedes who have k settled down ' 
often live in Russian and Zirian villages without a regular 
occupation. The nomadic Samoyede is on the march with 
his tent for four months every year ; he migrates south in 
winter and north in summer. A rich Samoyede — the richest 
are in the Yamal Peninsula — may have as many as 5,000 
reindeer, and the further north one goes into the tundra, 
the richer are the Samoyedes found to be. They seem to 
have no affection for their deer, but regard them merely from 
the pecuniary point of view. Some of them, especially the 
Ostyak Samoyedes, are more engaged in hunting, and to 
some extent in fishing. Communal hunting of the wild 
reindeer still survives among the Samoyede. White and blue 
foxes are trapped and snared, and geese and other birds arc 
caught during the moulting season. In hunting they used to 
employ a bow and arrows, but in their place they now use 
clumsy and primitive flint-lock muskets, and employ a gun- 
rest in shooting. So a native industry in bows and arrows 
has died out without any counterbalancing addition to their 
resources. The fisherman is looked down upon by the reindeer 
owner. There is a weak industry on the sea coast in hunting 


marine animals ; but the incapacity and lack of enterprise 
of the Samoyedes put them at the mercy of monopolists : 
they do not even carry their goods to market, but have them 
transported by the Russians, who use the Samoyedes' own 
reindeer for the purpose. Most of the Samoyedes' implements 
are of bone and stone. But with three metal tools, his axe, his 
borer, and his knife, he is very dexterous. The Samoyede 

Iyomen are expert in sewing : they use reindeer-sinews for 
hread, preparing them first by chewing. 
The Samoyedes trade in much the same way as the Ostyaks 
p. 143) : they bring their peltries to Berezov, Obdorsk, and 
ither markets ; but the Zirians, whom the Russians call the 
ews of the tundra, have got most of the Samoyede trade into 
heir hands. East of the Urals money is little used, but in 
oartering with the Samoyedes only articles of practical use 
are serviceable : to think of them as savages and bring them 
glass beads is the worst of mistakes. 

Dwellings. — The migratory Samoyede lives in a chum. 
Three or four families usually travel together. A chum is 
made of about twenty fir-poles, sharpened at each end, driven 
into the ground and with their tops lashed together. Over 
these are tied large pieces of birch-bark, reaching from the 
top of the poles to the ground and secured in their place by 
stones or lumps of earth. The chimney is an orifice of two feet 
or so between the tops of the poles and the edge of the birch- 
bark. In winter the chum is covered with reindeer-skins, 
well caulked with moss. In the centre of this tent is a large 
flat stone on which the fire is made. The fire serves for 
illuminant as well as heat, for they do not use lamps. The 
part of the chum that faces the entrance is holy, and must not 
be contaminated by the presence of women, as they are unclean. 
Clothing and food. — The common dress of both sexes is 
a red cotton shirt and thin cloth trousers, with skin stockings 
(hiipti) and long deer-skin boots fyimi) which are almost alike 
in the costume of men and women. In snow seal-skin boots 
are worn instead as being more waterproof. Over the shirt 
is worn the malitsa, a smock-like garment made of reindeer- 


skin, with the hair worn inside ; it has a hole for the head to 
be thrust through, and at the neck there is attached a close- 
fitting hood, while mittens (rukavitsa) are attached to the 
sleeves. It is tightly girded round the waist, so as to make 
a sort of bag. Over this is worn a white deer-skin (suvik), 
cut in the same pattern, but without the rukavitsa ; instead 
of these it has bands of red flannel about the wrists : in this 
garment the hair is worn outside. Women do not wear the 
suvik but ' a long, loose, buttonless skin-coat, reaching to 
the calf of the leg, folded over the breast and secured round 
the waist by a belt. At regular intervals there are eight or 
nine strips of reindeer skin with intervening pipings of red and 
green flannel '. The woman wears a cap detached from the 
robe with hair outside and elaborately adorned. The only 
ornament in male attire, as a rule, is a belt of thongs with 
metal buttons : both sexes wear charms, especially the tooth 
of a bear. 

Their principal food is reindeer meat, which they like to 
eat raw or half -putrid. They care more for quantity than 
quality. One favourite delicacy Avith them is the gullet of 
the reindeer. The young reindeer is good to eat, but the old 
reindeer, if not hung, is very tough. They are fond of vodka, 
and are ready to sell a reindeer for three litres of it. They 
chew tobacco, but do not smoke it, but they make snuff by 
grinding down tobacco. In some parts a certain amount of 
rye-bread is made, where the flour is mixed with water and 

Marriage and death. — Monogamy is general, but there is 
no objection to polygamy. Few Samoyedes, however, have 
more than two wives, though some rich men have as many as 
four in separate chums. The father only keeps part of the 
kalym paid by the bridegroom, which may amount to as 
much as thirty fox-skins and three hundred reindeer (an 
actual case) ; the rest is given to his relations. He gives 
a dowry a chum, some reindeer, sledges, harness, meat, ai 
clothes, amounting in value to the kalym paid, which 
returned in case of divorce. A Samoyede wall sometimes sc 


his wife for some teams of reindeer or exchange her for the 
wife of another man. 

Interment of the dead has been the custom with the 
Samoyedes since their conversion to Christianity. Graves are 
viewed with superstition, and the head is averted in passing 

le grave of any one who is not a relative. The graves are 
terely rude wooden boxes, often rifled by wolves and foxes. 

?yond the mouth of the Ob below the earth lies the world 
the future life, where the shadow will live as long as it 

bs lived on earth while the soul is reincarnated. 

Religion. — A 'conversion' to Christianity, which had been 

receded by a considerable assimilation of Christian ideas and 
ithics, has not prevented the retention of a good deal of the 
primitive religion of the Samoyedes. They have a feeling that 
the God of the Christians cannot be supposed to know much 
about reindeer ; so in that part of their life which is related 
to their herds, they make their appeals to their native divinities. 
At the head of these is Num, the giver of life, a highly exalted 
being who will not even deign to glance at the earth, as being 
unclean. Of him there are images made called chaddi, which 
are carefully kept out of sight. Besides Num, they believe 
in Aa, a devil, tadebtsi, spirits, and hegi, household gods. 
These last can be approached directly without a mediator, 
but for the tadebtsi the intervention of the tadebeys (Shamans) 
is necessary ; they are the embodiment of the divine spirit 
on earth. There is no particular temple for their rites, but 
they resort to certain places on hills. The island of Vaigach is 
accounted especially holy, and there above all places the devout 
Samoyede would wish to be buried. 

Tribes akin to the Samoyedes 

Besides the Samoyedes, properly so-called, there are tribes 
further south, closely akin to them. Of these may be named 
the Beltirs, Kaibals, Kamassins, Karagasses, Motors, and 
Soyots. Some of these are largely mixed with a Tartar 
strain. The Beltirs live by agriculture and cattle-breeding 
on the Abakansk steppe ; they profess Christianity ; their 


language is like that of the Sagai Tartars. The Kaibals are 
on the upper Yenisei ; they are hardly to be distinguished 
from the Tartars of the Minusinsk district ; they support 
themselves by rearing cattle. The Kamassins, who also have 
a large Tartar admixture in their language, live in the Kansk 
district of Yeniseisk. They are herdsmen or agriculturists. 
The Karagasses, north of the Sayansk Mountains, are losing 
their distinctive features. They number to-day 345, including 
83 ' warriors '. Of the Motors one section entered China and 
was exterminated ; the other section has been merged among 
the Tuba and Soyots. 

The Soyots are probably a division of the Samoyedes, who 
live in the extreme south of Siberia near the Kitoisk Moun- 
tains. They are a small and rapidly disappearing tribe, 
isolated from the rest of the world among their cold and bare 
mountains. Their settlements are at Lake Ulchir, Kitoi, 
Tsagan-Khar, Oplik-Gol, Samart, Dzhatkhak, and Khonshon. 
They live entirely by hunting for sable, squirrel, and bear, and 
procure their own requirements (such as powder, lead, tea, 
flour, and salt) by the sale of their fur. They make use of 
horses, but more often of reindeer, for driving and hunting. 
They live in wooden yurtas in different places in accordance 
with the season of the year, the winter ones being built on the 
edge of the taiga so that they can procure firewood. The 
position of the others is dictated by the necessity of procuring 
food for their horses and reindeer, which have to graze all the 
year round, as they have no means of making hay near their 
yurtas. These huts are four-cornered erections of wood, with 
an opening in the roof for the smoke from the tire which is 
always burning. They live amid incredible dirt and never 
wash, their only method of cleaning being by licking. Their 
religion is sometimes Lamaism, sometimes Shamanism. They 
speak the Buryat language. A few years ago there was one 
old man who could speak the Soyot language. Some few of 
them speak Russian. Their one food is zamvran : i. c. green 



brick tea, boiled with milk, flour, reindeer-fat, and salt ; they 
never eat bread and only rarely reindeer meat. Their imple- 
ments for eating are a small wooden cup of Mongol workman- 
ship, which the owner always carries about with him, and a 
knife, without a sheath, hanging from the belt. They suffer 

Iiuch from various diseases — colds, complaints of the 
tomach, and syphilis, 
(iii) Turkic Tribes 
The Turkic tribes have often been classed with the Mon- 
olian, but it is now more usual to separate them. The differ - 
nces are more marked in language and religion than in physiog- 
nomy and other racial characteristics. There is a considerable 
blending with Finnic and Samoyedic stocks, and in some cases 
it is difficult to say to which of these branches of the Ural- 
Altaic group a particular tribe like the Karagasses should be 
attributed. In western Siberia the great group of Turkic 
peoples is the Tartars, while in eastern Siberia their chief 
representative is the Yakut. The Turkic people have pene- 
trated Siberia from northern Mongolia, preceding in their 
movement the great Mongol invasions of the thirteenth century. 
It was these invasions which caused the Yakuts to move from 
the region in which they had settled round Lake Baikal to 
the basin of the Lena. The Tartars spread farther west, 
and there are well over a million of them in European Russia 

Siberian Tartars 
Territory. — In Siberia the Tartars are found Avest of the 
Yenisei. They are cut into two distinct portions ; a northern 
group, consisting of the Baraba and Chulim Tartars, occupies 
the Baraba steppe and the Chulim basin to the east of it, 
and a southern group, separated from them by the Siberian 
Railway and the stream of Russian immigration, occupies the 
Altai and the Abakansk steppe in the basin of the Yenisei. 

Name. — There are various names for the different groups 
of inhabitants, but they are collectively called Tartars, or, 
with more correct spoiling, Tatars. 


Racial affinities and language. — As stated above, they are 
distinct from the Mongolians, though sometimes classified 
with them, and many of the tribes have become much inter- 
mixed either with Finnic or Samoyedic peoples or with other 
peoples of Turkic stock. In some cases too they have grown 
to have a strong resemblance to the Caucasian peoples, with 
whom they have intermingled. 

In language those of them who have kept their own speech 
resemble the Ottoman Turks, but some tribes, like the Chulim 
Tartars, have lost their own tongue, and others like the 
' Kalmuks ' of the Altai have a large number of Mongol 
words in their vocabulary. 

Numbers. — The number of Tartars in Siberia is reckoned 
(1912) at 176,124. They constitute nearly a third of the 
Turkic stock in Siberia. 

Divisions. — North of the Siberian Railway, in the district 
between Tobolsk and Tomsk, are two Tartar peoples : (1) 
The Baraba Tartars, of whom there are about 55,000, live in 
the Baraba steppe between the Irtish and the Ob. They 
are an agricultural people, who have given way before Russian 
encroachment, and live now in villages among the marshes 
and woods. (2) The Chulim Tartars are very few. They live 
on the River Chulim, a tributary of the Ob : they have almost 
entirely given up the use of their native speech, and live for 
the most part like Russian peasants. 

South of the Siberian Railway there are two main groups : 

(1) The Altaians, of whom there are various subdivisions : 
the Tartar Kalmuks (about 12,000), who are not really Kal- 
muks at all, as the real Kalmuks are Mongolian, which this 
Altaian people are not despite a Mongoloid appearance ; the 
Teleuts or Telengites (about 5,800) in the Kuznetsk district ; 
the Chern or Black Forest Tartars, farther north on the River 
Biya; the Shors, about 11,000, on the Rivers Tom 
and Mras-su ; and the Lebed Tartars, along the Rive 

(2) The Abakansk Tartars, on the Abakansk steppe in th 
valley of the upper Yenisei, in the neighbourhood of Minusinsk 



have become much Russianized and lost many of their national 

Relations with Russians. — Many of the tribes are adopting 
Russian costume and habits, and some like the Chulim 
Tartars are losing their native speech. On the whole relations 
between the Russians and Kalmuks are friendly, though 
extensions of the activities of Russian tax-gatherers are 
sometimes actively resented. The Kalmuks, probably as 
so closely resembling the Mongols in appearance, are not — 
or at any rate were not lately — allowed to perform military 
service for the Russians, though it is likely that they would 
make good soldiers. 

Social institutions. — The Altaians are divided into clans, 
but the separation is not very marked, and people of various 
clans live together in the same village. In this they differ 
very much from their western neighbours, the Kirghiz. The 
clans are known as seoks (generations), of which there are 
supposed to be twenty-four, but it is doubtful whether the 
number has more than a mystical significance. People of 
the same seok regard themselves as related to one another. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Altaians, if 
they may be taken as representative, have flat, broad 
faces, small foreheads sloping backwards, little eyes turning 
upwards at the corners, small eyebrows, prominent cheek- 
bones, snub-noses too small for the face, large mouths with 
thick lips, which display two rows of strong white teeth. 
The chin is pointed, and they have little or no beard. Their 
complexion is dark, their hair and eyebrows deep black, the 
hair being stiff and bristly. As a rule the men shave off 
a good part of it, leaving only a patch on the crown of the 
head, which they plait into a queue. They tend to be short 
and broad-shouldered, but do not look very strong, probably 
because of the poor nourishment of a large number of the 
people. Their legs are bowed — at any rate this is the case with 
the Kalmuks — because they have lived in the saddle from their 
earliest years. The women are smaller than the men, but 
look stronger : it is they who do a great deal of the hardest 


work. They have a general reputation for being honest and 
industrious. They are also an imaginative people, and the 
Kalmuks have a considerable store of legends ; they are 
exceedingly fond of their own regions, as their songs show. 
Their chief vices are dirtiness and drink. 

Occupations. — They are mostly nomadic, and pursue a 
pastoral life, but the Baraba Tartars engage in agriculture. 
The Kalmuks are great equestrians, and are brought up to 
the art of riding from their earliest years. They carry most 
of their possessions about in sacks on their horses' backs. 
There is a peculiar breed of horses in the Altai, but it is seldom 
found pure now, being much mixed with Russian, Kirghiz, 
and Mongolian stocks. The Altaian horse has a beautiful, 
erect, ' dry ' head, large eyes, a deep curb-dimple, a broad 
throat and finely set nervous ears. The neck is dry, sinewy, 
and short in proportion to the length of the animal ; the 
chest is broad. The withers are not particularly high, and 
die away with the back. The shoulders are slanting, the upper 
part of the thigh strong and sinewy, the knee broad, the pastern 
steep and short : the hoof is steep and small, very firm, and 
except for a large frog, has a normal form. Most have a bright 
colour. The height is 4 ft. 2| ins., the length 4 ft. 9 ins. 
Besides its beautiful bodily form, the Altaian horse is dis- 
tinguished for speed and cleverness. 

They also have a special race of horned cattle : the cows 
give plentiful good milk. The Altai Mountains are a paradise 
for cattle-breeding, the numerous streams and short grass 
offering good nourishment for horses and. horned cattle ; 
there is also good pasture for sheep and goats. There are no 
harmful insects, and the pastures are free from snow in winter, 
so that the animals can get their own food. 

Dwellings. — The Tartars live in yurts, which are like those 
of the Kirghiz, but their villages are less exclusive than the 
mils of the Kirghiz, more families dwelling together. 

Clothing and food. — They wear a sort of shirt with a cape ; 
the sleeves of the shirt are long, reaching half-way down the 
hand ; the shirt is held together by a girdle, and is made of 


some blue Russian cloth, or blue or brown Chinese material. 
They wear trousers of the same material, wide and reaching 
just below the knee. Sometimes the trousers are made of 
roe-leather. The shirt hangs free over the trousers, just 
below the waist. The footwear consists of shoes without 
heels, reaching to the knee, made in summer of dressed sheep- 
skin, and in winter of undressed skin with the hair outside. 
They wear felt stockings projecting about two inches above the 
stock of the shoe, and between the stocking and stock of the 
right leg they put their tobacco-pouch and pipe with the 
stem projecting. Over their shirt they wear a cloth jacket, 
with sleeves reaching to the elbows, and with long pockets 
hanging down. Above this they may wear a leather coat in 
summer or a skin coat in winter, with a belt holding a pouch, 
knife, &c. On their heads the Altaian Tartars wear a three- 
cornered hat, the point being behind, with erect rims. It is 
made of lamb-skin, and is covered with some yellow material, 
with a red oval flap sewn on the top. From the corner behind 
hang two red ribbons, one and a half feet long. They eat 
mutton, whether the meat of the domestic sheep, or of the 
big-horn that frequents the Altai ; they are also fond of the 
flesh of horses. Though they own large herds of cattle, they 
do not eat them. 

Religion. — The Baraba Tartars are Mohammedans. The 
Southern Tartars are either Christian or heathen. One of 
the outward and visible signs of Christianity is the absence of 
a queue on the top of the head ; another is monogamy. They 
have many superstitions, and Shamanism is prevalent among 
them. Polytheism is common. 

Other Tartar Branches 

In the above description the Altaians and more especially 
their western branch, the Kalmuks, have been dealt with. 
A few words will suffice about the other branches. The Teleuts 
in the eastern Altai have much the same appearance as the 
Kalmuks, but they are more settled, and engage in agriculture. 
Their language and poetry is of much the same character. 


The Shors live mostly by fishing, and are very poor. In lan- 
guage, religion, and costume they have become much assimi- 
lated to the Russians. Closely resembling them are the 
Lebed Tartars. The Chern Tartars live by hunting, trade, and 
cattle-breeding. One profitable product of their land is wild 
honey. They also sow barley and wheat. They are extremely 

In addition to these tribes of the Altai and its northern 
foreland, there is the important Turkic stem of the Kirghiz, 
with its two great branches, the Kara-Kirghiz and the Kazak. 

The first-named, whose appellation means ' black ', are 
really outside the area described in this book. They are 
found in great numbers in the government of Semiryechensk, 
especially in the neighbourhood of Lake Issuk-Kul and in 
the steppes south of Lake Balkhash. They number in all 
about 800,000, of whom 700,000 are in this government. 
They are governed by tribal rulers, elected by themselves, 
who enjoy unlimited authority and with whom the Russian 
administration interferes but little. They carry on a vigorous 
trade in live-stock breeding — horses, cattle, sheep, goats, 
pigs and camels. 


Territory. — This great people are found from Lake Balkhash 
to the Aral and Caspian Seas and to the lower Volga, and also 
in the regions of the upper Irtish and Ob. 

Name. — The name by which they are always known among 
themselves is Kazak, which means ' rider ' and is the same 
word that we know in the form Cossack. But the Russians, 
since the word Cossack has come to mean something very 
different, call them loosely, but conveniently, Kirghiz. 

Racial affinities and language. — They should be carefully 
differentiated from the Kara-Kirghiz, though they share so 


many of their customs and ways of life, for they differ in 
physiognomy and language. The Kara-Kirghiz seem to have 
come from the Altai, the Kazak-Kirghiz from Asia Minor. 

leir language is Turkic in structure, but contains a large 
Lber of Mongolian, Arabic, and Persian words. 
r umbers. — They are said to number between two and three 
ions, and increase steadily as one goes further south. 
Hvisions. — They are divided into three Hordes, which are 

>divided into races and tribes. The Great Horde lives in 
region south-east of Lake Balkhash from Semipalatinsk 

;he Ala-tau Range, the Middle Horde occupies the watershed 
between the Aralo-Caspian basin and the River Ob, the Little 
Horde is mainly between the Aral and Caspian Sea. A fourth 
Horde, called the Inner Horde, has been settled since 1801 
in the Orenburg district. The higher orders of the Kirghiz 
are divided into White Bones (Ak-sijuk) and Black Bones 
(Kara-sijuk), according as they are descended from khans 
and ' saints ' or other ancestors. 

Social institutions. — They choose their own khans, who have 
authority in their respective tribes, but little beyond them. 
These appointments are confirmed by the Russian Govern- 
ment. The real rulers are the elders, who are appointed by 
public election. Rigorous punishment is dealt out to the 
brigandage and raids which arise from inter-tribal feuds. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — They are allied 
ethnically to the Mongolians, and preserve strongly marked 
Mongolian features though with admixture of Finnish and 
Iranian blood. They are middle-sized, square-built, and 
inclined to be stout. They are brachycephalous with small 
slanting eyes, which are usually black, high cheekbones 
broad, flat nose, small mouth, long black hair, and very little 
beard on the face, which is usually of a yellowish-brown hue, 
but occasionally fair. Their hands and feet are small. They 
are an honest and trustworthy people, but have a sullen and 
unfriendly manner, and more so, the nearer that they dwell to 
civilization. They are more warlike than the Kara-Kirghiz. 
They are a hardy, long-lived people, but suffer from dirt, 


small-pox, ophthalmia and syphilis. They are very fond of 
recitation, but have no dances. Their musical instruments 
are the kobys, a string instrument, and suvusya (a kind of 

Occupations. — The Kazaks have vast flocks and herds, 
which constitute their main wealth, and they are admirable 
horsemen. They are employed in the mines and in fishing. 

Dwellings. — They are nomadic and have no settled homes, 
though apt to fix their summer tents year after year at the 
same spot, when they are driven by drought and insects to 
the upper mountain pastures. They live in yurts, which are 
circular tents of light wooden framework with coverings of 
red cloth or felt, and a hole at the top for light and ventilation. 
The whole can be set up or pulled to pieces in a few minutes : 
its weight is about 10-12 puds (360-430 pounds), and it makes 
a load for two camels. The height is from 8 to 15 ft., the 
diameter from 10 to 30 ft. The winter yurts (zimovkas) have 
coverings of felt two or three times as great. An invariable 
feature of the yurt is the kazan or large iron pot in the centre. 

Clothing and food. — The ordinary dress is a chapan, a 
flowing robe ; the number worn is determined by the season 
of the year and the material by the wealth of the wearer. 
This is fastened by a girdle of silk or leather, which contains 
his knife, tobacco-pouch, and other inseparable accessories. 
Broad silk pantaloons are worn, and black or red leather boots. 
There is little difference in the costumes of the two sexes. 
A malachai envelopes head and neck and most of the face. 
Sometimes three pairs of shoes are worn : first a loose pair of 
thin embroidered leather boots (with moccasin soles), then 
felt boots (pimi) of solid wool about one inch thick, and then 
stout leather boots, all coming well above the knee. Sometimes 
there is also worn a stout overcoat reaching to the knee, lined 
with curly- wool sheep-skin. 

For food they devour horseflesh and vast quantities of 
boiled mutton. Instead of bread they eat balamyk, a mass of 
flour fried in dripping and diluted in water. . They drink 
kumls (fermented mare's milk) in large quantities. 


Marriage and position of women. — The women are restricted 

less than is usual among Mohammedans. It is customary for 

a Kirghiz boy first to marry a woman older than himself, 

to guide his footsteps in married life ; some ten years later he 

reds a younger wife, and his earlier spouse is relegated to the 

>osition of dowager. 

Religion. — Like the Kara-Kirghiz, the Kazak-Kirghiz are 
Sunnite Mohammedans, but their belief is of a lax kind and 
largely tinged by Shamanism. They have few mullahs, and 
make few pilgrimages to Mecca, though they revere the tombs 
of their local ' saints ', which are a prominent feature in the 
steppe landscape. They have a month of fasting called 
Urazah. The chief prescription of the Koran for which they 
show respect is polygamy, but that is restricted by their 
limited means. 


Territory. — The Yakuts occupy the valley of the Lena for 
almost its entire length : in the north they extend from the 
Khatanga to the Kolima, in the south from the sources of 
the Vilyui to the Sea of Okhotsk. 

Name of tribe. — They call themselves Sokha or Sakhor : 
there is still in the neighbourhood of Minusinsk a Tartar 
tribe called Sekho, who may have retained the name from 
a time anterior to the northward migration of the Yakuts. 
They owe their name Yakut to their Tungus neighbours who 
call them Yako or Yakot. One branch is found between the 
Yenisei and Khatanga Rivers in the Government of Yeniseisk, 
who are known as Dolgans or Tolgans : they are a fishing, 
nomadic folk. 

Racial affinities and language. — The Yakuts belong to the 
Turkic branch of the Ural-Altaic stock, and their language 
presents close resemblances to that of the Turks. There is a 
Yakut grammar by Boethlingk (published in 1851). 

Numbers. — Including the Dolgans, they are computed at 
226,739, of whom 113,330 are males. Their marriages are 
fertile, with an average of about ten to a family, but less 

L 2 


productive as one goes north. They are increasing in numbers 
and absorb a large number of Russian settlers, who learn 
their language and adopt their customs. 

History and relations with Russians. — They were expelled 
from the Baikal region about the thirteenth century by the 
Mongol Buryats, and driven northwards. They had to go 
far north to escape the depredations of their Tungus neigh- 
bours, but they have now proved themselves considerably 
their superiors, and their settlements are extending south 
again, while the Tungus are giving way before their superior 
civilization. The Cossacks found them in 1620, at a time when 
they were the prey of internal dissensions. 

Social institutions— They are divided into uluses, naslegs, 
and aga-usa (clans). Over the ulus, the biggest division, 
presides the golovd with an uprava, a kind of police-court ; 
several naslegs go to make up the ulus : they are administered 
by a district council under a district elder called kujas. The 
nasleg consists of from one to thirty clans, the clan sometimes 
being composed of a few individuals, sometimes of several 
hundreds. The council of elders of the clan, which used to 
decide all legal and economic questions, was called ogonyor. 
The Russians used to tax the Yakuts in furs ; now they tax 
them in coin. A poll-tax of 4 roubles is or was levied on 
them, the richer among them paying income tax as well. 
The clans were originally very large, when the Yakuts owned 
great herds of horses ; now that cattle-rearing predominates, 
the herds and the clans have become smaller. A clan by its 
own laws is responsible for the crimes committed by its 
members ; sometimes one clan makes an alliance with another, 
celebrated by joint sacrifice and festival (ysyakh). Marriage- 
gifts are also a symbol of reconciliation between clans, and 
compensation for damage done in their feuds. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Yakuts differ 
from one another in physique more than any other Turkic 
or Mongol people. Those that are well-off and can get enough 
to eat are from 5 ft. 10 ins. to 6 ft. tall : they are well-pro- 
portioned with good chest-measurement, and are robust 


and active ; but in the north, owing to severity of climate and 
badness of food, we find a very different type : they are below 
medium height, with a sickly complexion, and, unlike most 
Yakuts, are indolent. Ordinarily they are thick-set, robust, 
and muscular. They have black wiry hair, which the men 
cut close to the head, except the Shamans who grow it long 
and tie it up behind, dark and elongated eyes, broad flat 
noses, narrow foreheads, small round heads (the men's faces 
are long, the women's oval), little beard. The women are 
somewhat ungainly, and do not add to their attractions by 
the paint and excessive ornament that they affect, and the 
adoption of European costume still further diminishes their 
charms. The mode of speech of the Yakuts is slow, discon- 
nected and abrupt. They are described as good-tempered, 
orderly and hospitable, with more energy than their counten- 
ances suggest. They are capable of enduring a long strain, 
and are patient under privation ; but they lack independence, 
and need stimulus : it is said of them : ' the more you beat 
them, the better they work.' They are apt to fall into debt, 
mostly to their own fellow-countrymen, for the more enter- 
prising among them have earned the reputation of being the 
Jews of Siberia. They are fond of noise, song and dance ; 
their improvised songs have deadly monotony as they consist 
of eternal repetitions of one phrase. 

They measure distance in terms of time ; for instance 
a kess is the distance done in the time it takes a kettle to boil, 
a sufficiently elastic term (see p. 141). 

They are passionately fond of cards ; when giving their 
horses rest on their journeys, they instantly produce their 
cards, and are ready to stake anything. They are great 
eaters and drinkers, great smokers of tobacco, and extra- 
ordinarily fond of sleep. They are probably the most intelli- 
gent of the Siberian native tribes, though the Buryats are 
better educated. They carve figures of human beings which 
they fashion out of mammoth -tusks : but these are rigid and 
lifeless, with only an outward resemblance to what they repre- 
sent, and much inferior to those of the Koryaks. Even these 


specimens of their plastic art are rare and merely made for 
commercial purposes, to sell to the Russians. They take no 
pleasure in them themselves. 

Occupations. — Their principal occupations are looking after 
horses and cattle : the former has been their industry for 
a very long time, the latter has been more recently adopted. 
They also hunt and fish, and search for fossil-ivory. Cereals 
have been introduced into their country and are becoming 
acclimatized. They smelted the iron-ore of the Vilyui valley 
long before the Russians came, and they manufacture their own 
tools. Yakut steel is very flexible, but very good. They have 
only lately begun to breed dogs. They regard the dog as an 
unclean animal, and as having no hut (soul) ; they are harsh 
to their dogs ; it is a gross offence against good manners to 
introduce a dog into a Yakut's house ' because of the evil 
spirits that sit on its tail'. Their habit of horse-breeding 
led to them setting the yurtas at a considerable distance 
from one another, because it was necessary to have plenty 
of pasturage for their big herds ; if they had exhausted the 
pasturage near home, it would have been necessary to send 
the horses a long way, which would have meant risk from 
the negligence or dishonesty of the keepers. 

Dwellings and furniture. — Their winter-dwellings are yurtas 
made of logs : the doors are made of raw hides, the walls 
of logs or wicker, caulked with cow-dung and flanked with 
banks of earth to the height of the windows. In place of glass 
they have in the windows either skins or sheets of ice which 
are kept in place by slanting poles, and frozen afresh into 
their positions at intervals by pouring water round the edges. 
The roofs are flat and covered with earth. The door faces east, 
and is protected by projecting boards. Inside the yurta is 
divided into two ' apartments ' : one is for the cattle, the 
other divided into sections for the family. In the middle is 
a round chimney made of wood, but guarded against risk of 
fire by a thick covering of clay. In this chimney are placed 
cross-beams, from which they hang their kettles and pots. 
Their chief cooking utensil is a large iron pot ; this was so 


valuable when the Russians invaded their territory that the 
price demanded for it was as many sable-skins as would fill 
it. In the summer they live in conical tents of birch-bark ; 
the poles of which these are made are about 20 ft. long, united 
at the top ; these are covered with pieces of flexible birch- 
bark, ' handsomely worked along the edge with horsehair 

Clothing and food. — The Yakuts are capable of standing 
extreme cold, and are found going about in very light attire in 
winter, while their children sport naked in the snow. Their 
costume differs less in the various seasons than that of other 
Siberian peoples. Those who live in the Okhotsk region have 
partly adopted Russian costume, and partly retained the 
native dress — the kukhlyanlca and tarbass. They also wear the 
sarafan (a long overcoat without sleeves), but not the orna- 
mented cloak (made of fur of special cut) and the beaver cape, 
of which their compatriots in the Yakutsk region are so proud. 
Their breeches come only down the thigh, and they have long 
boots (farri) which come above the knee. Their summer- 
dress is the robashka (overshirt) and balachon (blouse) ; 
in winter they wear costumes of skins. The women are 
adept in making up fur-garments. Their dress only differs 
from that of the men by its greater length and ornamentation. 
The principal food of the Okhotsk Yakuts is dried fish ; the 
inland tribes eat horseflesh with avidity : they prefer it to 
beef, and rarely kill oxen for food. One special dish of theirs 
is called tar : it is a mixture of meat, fish, various roots, 
grass and the under-bark of spruce, fir, or larch, pounded in 
a mortar ; this is put into skimmed-milk mixed with water 
to which is added a little flour (when available), and the whole 
is boiled into a kind of porridge. They gather their bark 
harvest in spring, when the sap is rising. Their special intoxi- 
cant is kumis (fermented mare's milk) ; they also drink large 
bowls of melted butter. Another of their delicacies is jelly 
extracted from reindeer-horns and flavoured with pine-bark. 
They collect huge quantities of berries and cedar-cones for 
food. They are also great consumers of tea. 


Marriage and death. — The clans consist of blood relations. 
Their marriages are exogamous, but the influence of their 
neighbours, the Yukaghir, has led the Arctic Yakuts to 
introduce endogamous marriage, and the frequent sexual 
relations that take place before marriage are always endo- 
gamous. The marriage ceremony contains an exchange of 
gifts, the bridegroom brings kalym, the bride anna (dowry). 
When the Cossacks came, they found polygamy general, 
owing no doubt to the nomadic character of the people, the 
Yakut having a wife in every pasture ; but this is not much 
practised now, partly because the high price of the kalym is 
a deterrent, partly because girls die more frequently than 
boys in infancy, as they are not so carefully tended. When 
an important man is buried his best horse is killed and eaten, 
and the head and hide in one piece are set up as a memorial. 
In the case of a woman a cow takes the place of a horse. 

Religion and superstition. — The Yakuts have been nominally 
Christian since the beginning of the eighteenth century, 
when the Tsar declared that they had merited this privilege, 
of which many of them remained absolutely unconscious. 
They go to church, but have a very hazy idea of their nominal 
religion. Their native chief god is Tangra. They have also 
many malevolent spirits, who are distinguished by the names 
of colours ; cattle and horses are sacred to the spirit whose 
colour they bear. 

They have many customs and superstitions. No woman 
other than the hostess may give anything to eat or drink to 
a male stranger before the fire-place, but must walk round 
the chimney to present it. It is wrong to wash plates ; such 
waste will produce scarcity ; earthern vessels are cleaned by 
being burnt ; it is not felt then that anything is wasted 
because the food thus consumed is an offering to the fire, 
which also receives a small spoonful as an offering of thanks. 
Every Yakut has two names, by one of which he is n 


(iv) Mongolic Tribes 


Territory. — The Buryats live about the shores of Lake 
Baikal in the Provinces of Irkutsk and Transbaikal. The} 7 
extend from the frontier to the Lena valley and the north-east 
end of Lake Baikal, and from the River Ingoda to the River 
Oka. There are 11 tribes of them, 4 west of Baikal, 7 east. 

Racial affinities and language. — They are the principal 
Mongol tribe in Siberia, and speak a Mongol dialect, distinct 
alike from the literary Mongolian language and from the 
speech of the Kalmuks, who are closest to them in racial 
affinity. This tongue they have preserved in comparative 
purity, as knowledge of reading and writing is common 
among them, and they have books of their own for which 
they employ the Manchu alphabet. There are three distinct 
dialects of it. 

Divisions. — The north-west group of Buryats are known as 
Bargu-Buryats, the south-west group as Mongol-Buryats, and 
the eastern group as Aga-Buryats. The first two groups claim 
their descent from two different ancestors, Bukha Noyna 
and Bargubata. The Buryats round Novi-Selenginsk claim 
as their ancestor Jenghiz Khan. He it was who forced this 
people northwards in the thirteenth century, when they 
arrived on the upper Amur. 

Numbers. — The population of the Buryats is increasing. 
The most recent estimate is 288,599, of whom 175,717 are 
males. About three-fifths of these live in Transbaikal and 
two-fifths in Irkutsk. 

Relations with Russians. — The Russians conquered them 
in the seventeenth century after a vigorous resistance, but 
since then they have been among the most peaceful and trust- 
worthy of the inhabitants of Siberia. They join the Cossack 
regiments of the Transbaikal, and even in 1761 there was 
a regiment of Selenginsk Buryats. They do not chafe at 
having to perform military service, which probably is not 
an unwelcome interlude in the life of the yurta. 


Social institutions. — The Russians have developed their 
native clan-system, grouping several of their yagans (clans) 
into administrative clans. The head of the clan is called 
shelenga (elder). The group of clans is called vyedomstva and 
is presided over by a taisha. One feature of the collective 
life of the clan is the co-operative hunt, which sometimes 
lasts for months. Over it presides the tubuchi, whose office 
is often hereditary. Another collective act of a clan is its 
tailgan, a public sacrifice offered on behalf of the clan. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — The Buryats are 
broad-shouldered, inclined to be stout. They have big heads, 
square faces, small slanting eyes, high cheekbones far apart, 
broad and flat noses, low foreheads, thick lips, swarthy and 
yellowish complexion, jet-black hair and scanty beards. The 
hair is cropped very close except on the crown of the head 
where it is made to grow in a long queue that hangs down 
at the back. In temperament the Buryats are phlegmatic 
and patient ; they lack enterprise, but have a certain amount 
of energy as shown in their hard work as agriculturists : it 
seems scarcely fair to say of them that they are only made 
to work by the stimulus of hunger. They are fond of drink 
and tobacco, and even small children smoke. They are an 
intellectual people, and under the influence of Lamaism have 
books of their own. 

Occupations. — Their principal occupations are rearing cattle 
and horses, and they show great attachment towards their 
horses. They also hunt and fish, and under Russian influence 
cultivate to some extent rye and wheat. When they have 
taken to agriculture, they have proved better farmers than 
the Russians, being indefatigable in manuring and irrigation. 
They are specially adept at silversmith work, which is known 
throughout Siberia as bratski work, bratski ( = brothers) 
being a name of the Russians for the Buryats. They are 
also successful as leather workers and in the manufacture of 
textile fabrics. 

Dwellings. — Their yurtas are not in rows, but scattered , 
and they are surrounded by large enclosures ; at a distance 


from the groups of their dwellings are the large enclosures 
(ugugi) where the cattle graze during winter and where huge 
crops of hay are obtained during the summer. They are so 
much attached to the life of the yurta that when they live in 

Souses they make a hole in the roof and have a fire in the 
itre of the floor. 
Clothing, food. — In summer they dress in silk and cotton, 
t in winter in fur and sheepskins. A wealthy bride's 
dowry will sometimes consist of as many as 40 cases of the 
richest furs. Their staple food is boiled mutton. They 
drink a great deal of brick-tea and blend with it rye-meal, 
mutton-fat, and salt. In the north they use wood as fuel, in 
the south camel's dung (' argols '). 

Marriage and death. — Marriages are arranged . among the 
Buryats by two families exchanging daughters ; if there are 
only sons a kalym has to be paid, which consists of so many 
cattle. The bride receives a dowry, which counterbalances 
the kalym. 

They used to burn their dead, but the practice is now 
forbidden by the Russian Government. The bodies of 
shamans are still sometimes burnt before being placed in the 
trunks of trees ; if not, they are exposed on an aranga (plat- 
form). At the burial of a Buryat a horse (kholgo) is sacrificed. 
In former times the old people were got rid of by compelling 
them to swallow strips of fat. 

Religion. — The nominal religion of the western Buryats is 
Christianity ; of the eastern Buryats Lamaism, the northern 
form of the Buddhist religion. The Lamas (who constitute 
a large part of the population towards the Chinese border) 
are greatly reverenced ; they lead ascetic lives, are forbidden 
the use of spirits and tobacco, do not take animal-life, and 
are celibates ; they engage in industry "outside their religious 
avocations. The chief of their religious houses is the datsan 
by Lake Gusinoe, where the Chambo Lama presides. A well- 
known feature of their religious system is the prayer wheel. 
The native religion is polytheistic ; each class of gods seems 
to have a departmental head, but there is no Supreme Being. 


Buryats who have married Russian wives often adopt Chris- 
tianity. But Shamanism will die hard ; if it has annexed the 
symbol of the Cross for its rites, it shows scanty signs of 
falling otherwise under its influence. 

(v) Tungusic Tribes 

Territory and racial affinity. — The name of Tungus is applied 
not to one tribe, but to a whole group of tribes that extend 
from the Yenisei valley to the Pacific Ocean, broken up into 
widely-scattered groups, and, by intermarriage with their 
neighbours in different parts, developing very different 
characteristics. It is extraordinarily difficult to ascertain 
whether the account given by travellers refers to one particular 
tribe or to some widespread characteristic of the group. 
Thus one traveller, finding Tungus to the north and east of 
Yakutsk, describes them as ' perhaps the wildest, as they are 
the filthiest, of any Siberian tribe. They are comparatively 
few (at most some 4,000) and are yearly diminishing in number. 
They profess no religion, are nomads, and gain a living by 
fishing and selling furs to Russian traders, who by the aid of 
vodka and debauchery are slowly but surely decimating 
them '. He does not add a word to give any indication that 
there are other Tungus tribes to whom this account would be 
utterly inapplicable, as, for instance, the Goldi with their 
elaborate art. It is necessary, therefore, to be very cautious 
in accepting statements about the Tungus as a whole. 

The Tungus are a branch of the Ural-Altaic group, and 
include some tribes like the Manchu and the Solons who 
hardly come into Russian dominions at all. They stretch 
from the Taimir Peninsula along the Yenisei valley, across 
the Vitim plateau tb the sea-coast almost from Korea to 
Kamchatka. The Amur and Ussuri are Tungus streams. 
Along the Arctic Ocean not only are they found in the Nisovaya 
tundra, but also between the Yana and Kolima Rivers, and 
certain Tungus tribes, the Lamuts and Olennye, continue 
along the Anyuisk and Stanovoi Mountains into the Chukchee 


Peninsula. The Tungus proper are chiefly in the neighbour- 
hood of the Tunguska rivers, and between the Lower and 
Middle Tunguska is found one special branch of them, 
the Chapogir. Some of the tribes along the Amur are hybrid 
tribes, which are only half -Tungus, but have retained a form 
of Tungus speech ; others have had their characteristics 
profoundly modified by neighbourhood and intermarriage 
| with southern peoples. 

Name of tribe. — Their diffusion over north-east Russia is 
probably responsible for the similarity of so many implements 
and customs, as they have been adopted by their neighbours. 
Nansen attributes to the influence of the Tungus the practical 
identity of type of certain things (e. g. dog-sledges) in various 
parts of this vast region. Their name seems to be Chinese : 
Tunghu = the people. The Samoyedes call them Aias ( = 
younger brothers), which implies a late immigration. 

History. — Their oldest home was Manchuria. Political 
upheavals in China and the conquering hordes of Jenghiz 
Khan drove them northwards, where earlier branches of their 
people (the Sucheni of history) had already gone. The Russians 
found them on the Yenisei at the beginning of the seventeenth 
century — the first mention of their name is in 1612 — and in 
the following century they had severe struggles with their 
strong neighbours the Yakuts. 

Divisions. — The eighteenth-century explorers divided them 
into Horse-Tungus, Reindeer-Tungus, Dog-Tungus — to which 
some have added the names of Cattle-Tungus, Taiga-Tungus, 
and Steppe-Tungus, the last being another name for Horse- 
Tungus. For purposes of Russian administration the Tungus 
proper have been divided into Sedentary, Nomadic, and 
Wandering Tungus. The former are only 1 per cent, of the 
whole number ; they are found chiefly in Transbaikal, have 
intermarried with Russian settlers, and have forgotten their 
language. The Nomadic Tungus are cattle-breeders,who change 
their abode according to the season of the year, each clan having 
its own special region reserved for it. These constitute about 
50 per cent, of the Tungus population and are found in the 


Transbaikal and Yakutsk Provinces. The Wandering Tungus 
frequent the rivers, except in Transbaikal, and wander at 
large without a special region being assigned them . They pay 
little in taxation ; they have preserved their nationality 
and language best. These are about 45 per cent, of the 
Tungus. Besides these three divisions there are about 4 per 
cent, who, like the Buryats, have joined the Cossack regi- 
ments. These are entirely exempt from taxation. The 3rd 
regiment of Transbaikal Cossacks is entirely composed of 
Siberian natives. 

There are two great divisions of the Tungus breed. The first 
is the North or Siberian : to this may be assigned the Tungus 
proper and the Chapogir, Lamuts, and Olennye of northern 
Siberia, and further south two groups divided on a linguistic 
basis, to one of which belong the Orochon, Manegir, Birar, 
Kile, to the other the Olcha, Oroke, Negda, Samagir. The 
second is the South or Manchurian : to this are assigned two 
groups, on a linguistic basis, the first, with strong Mongolian 
influence, the Daurians and Solons, the second the Oroche, 
Manchu and Goldi. The physical and linguistic differences 
do not exactly correspond : thus the Olcha are scarcely 
distinguishable from the Gilyaks, who speak a totally different 
kind of language, while the Samagir, who belong to the same 
linguistic group, closely resemble the Goldi. Again, in another 
linguistic group we find that the Manegir and Birar resemble 
physically the Manchu, the Orochon the northern Tungus. 

Numbers. — The population of the Tungus is, altogether, 
76,507 ; of the Tungus proper, 62,068, of whom 31,375 are 
males. The numbers are diminishing, owing to epidemics 
and famines. 

Physical appearance and characteristics. — Broadly speaking, 
there are two types of Tungus, which can be called North 
and South. The North Tungus are differentiated by their 
extremely short stature ; they are said not to average more 
than 5 ft. 4 ins. They have moderately big heads with longish 
faces, broad at the cheeks, but narrowing to the forehead; 
the nose is flat and broad ; the hands and feet are small. The 


South Tungus are taller ; the hands and feet are distinguished 
by their comparative size from those of their neighbours, 
though a European would not like to try wearing their boots. 
Their heads are moderately small, with a broad square brow 
and an almost straight and not particularly thick nose ; the 

Iheek-bones are more prominent than those of the North 
?ungus and the cheeks are hollow ; a certain amount of red 
hows through their olive complexion. Both breeds have 
•lack hair ; the beard is thin and short : the eyes are dark- 
>rown and sunk. The mouth is wide, the lips thin. The 
Tungus have no tendency to obesity, but their figures are 
usually slim, wiry, and well-proportioned. The Tungus are 
a frank, good-natured, and hospitable people : they have been 
called by Castren the ' nobility of Siberia ' . They are said 
to be very honest, and fall an easy prey to the Yakut, who 
trade with them. A Tungus will not receive a present unless 
he can give one in return, often of greater value. Keane 
describes them as ' cheerful under the most depressing cir- 
cumstances, persevering, open-hearted, trustworthy, modest 
yet self-reliant, a fearless race of hunters, born amidst the 
gloom of their dense pine-forests, exposed from their cradle 
to every danger from wild beasts, cold, and hunger. Want 
and hardships of every kind they endure with surprising 
fortitude.' Despite the fact that some of them enter military 
service, they do not amalgamate with the Russians, who 
have not become assimilated to them, as they have to some 
extent to the Yakuts and Buryats. 

Social institutions. — The organization of their family and 
clan system is fairly strong : it has been retained most among 
the nomadic tribes ; but Christianity and western civilization 
have had a disintegrating effect. The individual has little 
existence apart from his family : it is as families that they go 
in quest of new hunting-grounds, whereas an individual never 
leaves his family. A group consisting of less than 100 is called 
a clan (tagaun) ; above that number it is an orda. The 
members of a clan may not marry each other. The clan used 
to be governed by a daruga whose office was hereditary ; but 


in the eighteenth century the Russians appointed native 
administrators, whose office was mainly to collect taxes. The 
clan-names are usually those of ancestors, but are sometimes 
derived from geographical features ; the Russians also give 
names to groups formed by themselves arbitrarily out of 
disintegrated clans. 

Occupations. — They are not given to agriculture, but most 
of them are reindeer people, and the names of some of the 
tribes like Oroche (Oron = reindeer) suggests that others once 
were. They hunt fur-bearing animals, the most valuable 
of which are the black fox, which is rare (his skin is valued up 
to £100), and the sable — a good sable -skin fetches from 
50s. to £10. One method of securing the sable, if he takes 
refuge in a hole, is to cut off his retreat with fine threads 
covered with bells, so that if he makes a dash out by night 
his movements may become known. The Tungus use the 
reindeer not only for drawing sledges but for riding ; they 
use a bridle twisted round the horns, and support themselves 
by staffs. When they are reduced to poverty by the loss 
of their reindeer they live on fish. In summer the nomadic 
Tungus come to the coast to fish. In March, or at some 
appointed time, the Tungus assemble in their nomad camps 
to pay the yassak. Yurta and herd alike are left in the charge 
of the wife during the hunting season. The woman has to do all 
the work of the house : she has to prepare the skin for the boots, 
sew the clothes, skin the reindeer, and make the meals ready. 

Dwellings.— They have no towns, villages, or houses as a 
rule, but only tents, of which there are seldom more than 
2 or 3 together. In summer the yurta is made of birch-bark, 
in winter of skins or, more rarely, logs. It is constructed with 
perpendicular sides, and a conical roof with a vent-hole for 
the smoke. It is divided into sections, the best of which is 
taken by the owner of the tent ; the others are for the grown- 
up children, and sometimes the labourers ; but these usually 
have separate tents. One yurta will contain six or eight of 
these divisions. The quite poor construct their yurtas of 
fish-skin and not reindeer-skins. 


Clothing, food. — Of so widely scattered a people, who dwell 
some of them near the Pole and others on the Chinese borders, 
it is impossible to describe the costume in general terms. 
One common costume described consists of a parka (blouse), 
dacha (sleeveless cloak), pantaloons worn by men and women, 
and cap and boots of reindeer skin. Their main food is the 
meat and milk of reindeer, dried fish, and a sort of cheese. 
They do not care for a vegetarian diet. Krahmer attributes 
to them the dish tolfcusha, which has been described among 
the Kamchadals. 

Marriage and death. — The son grows up in his father's 
house ; he has no property of his own ; the father takes 
even the furs that his son's skill in hunting has secured. When 
he is married he has his own section of the tent. The Tungus 
girl is free in her choice of a husband, and gets her own share 
of the inheritance, though less than that of her brother. 
Marriage is exogamous, but in the north, as with the Yakuts, 
we find tribes that are endogamous ; so, too, there is polygamy 
in Yeniseisk, but few Tungus are rich enough to afford the 
kalym for more than one wife. The Tungus never burn their 
dead. The corpse is usually sewn up in reindeer-skin, and 
then sometimes put in a wooden coffin set on high posts. 
Among the pastoral people round Lake Baikal it is interred 
in the ground. On returning from the funeral these latter 
try to obliterate their tracks, or cut down trees to bar the way, 
in order that the spirit of the dead man may not pursue them. 

Other customs. — The Tungus dance is peculiar ; they stamp 
on the ground while they repeat again and again one particular 
word. They have few musical instruments. The influence 
of China on the southern Tungus has led to the development 
of beautiful forms of art. 

Religion. — In the south a good number of the Tungus are 
Buddhists, but in the north Shamanism prevails. The 
acceptance of Christianity has led rather to a disintegration 
of clan customs than an improvement of faith and morals. 
The Tungus is generally credited with being very superstitious. 



A. — Chapogir, Olennye, Lamut 

Of Tungus tribes there are found in the north, the Chapogir 
between the Lower and Middle Tunguska, who may be a clan 
rather than a tribe, the Olennye between the Chaun and 
the Anadir, to the north of the Stanovoi Mountains, and 
the Lamuts who dwell in the Verkhoyansk and Kolima 
districts of Yakutsk, along the north shore of the Sea of 
Okhotsk and along the west coast of Kamchatka. They are 
about 2,000 in number, but are dying out. They are small 
and wizened, a nomadic people, who ride reindeer and drive 
them in sledges. They are excellent shots, and some few of 
them are given to fishing. They live in big conical tents, 
covered in winter with undressed reindeer-skin, in summer 
with tanned sheep-skin; these tents are easily struck, and 
they move rapidly. They retain their primitive simplicity 
and are very religious. Their Christianity, however, is tinged 
with Shamanism. Few among them can speak the Russian 

B. — Orochon 

In the Amur basin are a large number of tribes, who are 
wholly or partially Tungus. The most widely spread of these 
is the westernmost of them, the Orochon (or Oronchon or 
Orocheni). Their name implies that they are a reindeer 
people : we may compare Oroke, Oroche, and probably 
Olcha, with I substituted for r, though of these three only the 
Oroke still have reindeer. They dwell in the district north 
and east of Baikal as far as the Shilka, and along the Shilka 
and Amur to the confluence with the Oldoi, and northwards 
along the Olekma valley almost to Olekminsk. They resided 
originally in Yakutsk and emigrated to the Amur in 1825, 
occupying part of the territory of the Manegir. Those that 
live to the north of the Amur are called Ninagui, those that 
live to the south are called Sholgon. Ravenstein describes 
them thus : They are small and spare, with thin limbs. 
They have flat faces, very small and sleepy-looking eyes, of 
black or brown colour, noses often large and pointed, large 


mouths with thin lips, broad cheeks. Their hair is black 
and smooth ; their eyebrows are thin, and their beard is 
short. The Chinese tax-collectors, to whom their women 
were freely offered, have left their stamp on the physiognomy 
of many of the inhabitants. Their ordinary costume is a fur 
or leather frock (gulama) with short and wide leather drawers 
girt round the waist, and a belt, attached to which are a great 
number of things in daily use. The dress of the women is 
much the same, only longer. Unmarried girls can be recog- 
nized by their headbands embroidered with beads and adorned 
with buttons, copper coins, and small pieces of tin. 

They are a nomadic tribe. Their tents are conical, easily 
built and removed. They have some twenty poles stuck in 
the ground to form a circle of from 10-14 ft. in diameter, 
tied together about 10 ft. above the centre. The frame is 
covered with birch-bark, and that again with skins of the 
reindeer and elk. In front there is an opening to serve as 
a door, and above a hole for a chimney. When they remove 
temporarily they leave the frame and merely remove the 
bark and skins. The seat of honour opposite the entrance 
is never occupied by women. In front are scaffoldings for 
drying fish and meat, and storehouses for keeping what they 
do not carry away on their excursions ; these are never 
locked, but no one thinks of robbing them. 

In catching fish they use harpoons for large fish and a snare 
(samolov) for small fish. 

The Orochon are nominally Christian, but keep up a good 
deal of the old Shamanism. They wear teeth and claws of 
animals as amulets, and erect idols made of wood and fur in 
their yurtas. 

C. — Manegir 

What is said of the Orochon is mostly applicable to their 
eastern neighbours, the Manegir (Manyargs, Manegr), who 
live along both banks of the Amur from the mouth of the 
Oldoi to the mouth of the Zeya, and up that river and its 
tributaries to about lat. 54° N. Their languages are closely 
akin, both accenting on the last syllable, while their more 

M 2 


northerly Tungus neighbours accent on the penultimate, but 
in their physical characteristics the Manchu type is more 
discernible, while the Orochon more resemble the northern 
Tungus. The great difference between them is that, whereas 
both tribes are nomadic, the Orochon employ reindeer, the 
Manegir horses. In religion they are definitely Shamanist. 
They dwell on the river-banks in summer and frequent the 
taiga in winter. They have large herds of horses. They are 
said to keep their horses in condition by not feeding them 
for a day before a long journey, and for five or six days after 

D. — Birar 
Further down the Amur, after, a short interval, where 
a corner on the left bank is occupied by the Daurians, come 
the tribe of the Birar (called by Middendorff Bural or Byral 
Tungus). These dwell in the valley of the Bureya and its 
confluents as far as the prairie extends, i. e. up to about 
lat. 53° N. Down the Amur they are found to the mouth 
of the River Dichun. They are closely akin to the Manegir, 
whom they resemble in physiognomy and language, both 
borrowing words from the Chinese, Manchu, and Daurians. 
Like the Manegir, they are Horse-Tungus. 

E.— Kile 
East of these again, on the valleys of the Urmi and Kur, 
but not reaching to the Amur, are the Kile. Information 
about them is extremely scanty, but they seem to have been 
formerly a tribe of reindeer-nomads, who have settled on 
the River Kur and taken to fishing and hunting. Possibly 
the tribesman whom Middendorff calls Guragr was one of 
these, i.e. Kur-dweller. 

F. — Negda, Sanagir, Olcha, Oroke 

These tribes form a second group of Amur-Tungus, con- 
nected together by their language. The Negda (Nigidals or 
Neidalz (Russ.)) follow the course of the Amgun to its con- 


fluence with the Amur. They only occupy a few points 
beyond the Amgun. They seem to be a blend of Tungus and 

The Sanagir (Shanogir) are mostly along the upper and 
middle course of the River Gorin, but the mouth, like that of 
the Kur, is occupied by the Goldi, whom physically they 
closely resemble. They have not always been distinguished 
from the Negda. 

The Olcha (Manguns) occupy the lower waters of the Amur 
from the mouth of the Gorin to Bogorodskoe and to the sea 
at de Castries Bay. Physically they present a Tungus type, 
but with great modifications ; they are said by Schrenk to 
be a cross between the Tungus and the Gilyak, and Gilyak 
influence is discernible in their language ; others have held 
them to be more definitely of Mongol origin. They are less 
energetic than the Gilyak, and have not to the same extent 
kept out the Russian traders, who have had a demoralizing 
influence upon them. They keep dogs in large numbers, and 
have a special table in their houses reserved for feeding them, 

The Oroke are the last tribe in this group. They occupy 
settlements along the east coast and in the interior of Sakhalin. 
They number 749, of whom 395 are males. As early as 1709 
there are allusions to reindeer-holding inhabitants of Sakhalin. 
Mamia Rinzo calls them Orotskoe. Klaproth thinks that the 
Manchus gave the name of Oron to all the Tungus people. 
Their character is said to be rough and unbridled. They 
have no permanent habitation, but dwell in yurtas easily 
removed. They own reindeer, as their name implies ; a man 
is supposed to be well off who owns twelve. They do not 
shave their heads, but allow the hair to fall over the shoulders, 
or tie it up in a pigtail which hangs down behind. The clothes 
are made of fish-skin, seal-skin, and deer-skin, the latter being 
specially used for the trousers. The women's gowns are 
ornamented with brass decorations, and they have linen 
aprons, the material being procured by trading journeys to the 
Amur. For hunting they use bows and arrows and spears. 
Their food consists of fish, meat, roots, and herbs. 


G. — Daurians 
Of the south or Manchurian group the Daurians come up 
to the Amur below Blagovyeshchensk and occupy the right 
bank from that town down to Kadagan. Physically they 
are hard to distinguish from the Manchu ; they have oval 
and intellectual faces ; their cheeks are less broad than those 
of their other Tungus neighbours ; the nose is rather pro- 
minent, the eyebrows are straight, the skin tawny-coloured, 
and the hair brown. There is a theory that they are the 
remains of a Chinese -Mongol military colony; but although 
their language contains many Chinese words, it is notable 
that among the names of animals those that are Chinese arc 
the names of marketable animals, the others being Tungus. 
They are a tall, strong people. They have assimilated 
Chinese customs to a great extent. The upper classes shave 
their heads in front and grow pigtails behind ; the lower 
classes do not shave their heads, and twist their pigtails 
round their hair. The men wear long blue coats of cotton, 
loose linen trousers fastened at the knee or made into leggings, 
Chinese shoes or boots made of skin. They have a kaftan 
of fish-skin or other skin, and a belt to which is attached 
a case that contains their most requisite accessories (knife, 
chopsticks, tinder, small copper pipe, and tobacco). The 
women dress in blue cotton gowns with short loose sleeves, 
above which they wear a cape or mantle of silk reaching 
to the waist ; they carry their youngest children on their 
backs. They are primarily a people of huntsmen, but fish 
also : during the winter they secure fish on the Amur by 
' malleting ' : the fish are visible through the ice and are 
stunned by a blow at the top ; a hole is then made in the ice 
and they are secured. Their houses are set in square yards 
with a fence of stakes or wicker-work about them ; they have 
a framework of wood covered with mud, the roof is covered 
with sedge or grass. Usually the interior is not divided ; 
when it is, the entrance-room, where the children and domestic 
animals are congregated, is used as the kitchen. During the 
summer they have windows made of paper soaked in oil, 


during the winter they cover their windows with matting. 
Outside many of the houses are shrines containing idols with 
basins of incense set before them ; another religious decora- 
tion is the long pole with votive skulls adorning it. 

H. — Solons 
The Solons (shooters) are a tribe which are important in 
north Manchuria, but a mere handful of them live across 
the Amur. They are nomadic, and even their women hunt 
on horseback ; they have horses, dogs (used for hunting), 
sheep, oxen, and camels. Both they and the Daurians have 
large Mongol and even Chinese admixture. 

I. — Manchu 
The Manchu are the aristocracy of these tribes ; they have 
a proud history and have given a dynasty to China. Their 
real home is up the valley of the Kirin, a tributary of the 
Sungari. They have more marked features than any of 
their neighbours, thicker, more arched noses, less thin lips, 
bigger mouths, taller stature. They are found in the neigh- 
bourhood of Blagovyeshchensk, but there are very few 
beyond the Amur (the number of the whole tribe is 3,340). 
They are fishermen, and have boats either made of the trunk 
of a hollowed tree, or flat-bottomed made of planks. 

J. — Oroche 
The Oroche live along the coast of the Ussuri region from 
de Castries Bay to about lat. 44° N. Their speech resembles 
that of the Goldi, but we have little information about it ; 
the resemblances are more in vocabulary than in pronuncia- 
tion. They have had their physical type modified by inter- 
course with the Gilyaks in the north and with the Chinese 
in the south : the latter have had a demoralizing effect upon 
them ; they have settled among them, sometimes for agricul- 
ture on a small scale, sometimes for fishing, gold- washing, 
and so on. The South Oroche (Tazi) have been especially 


affected by this intercourse. The Oroche are said to have 
a repulsive physiognomy. They are very short ; their heads 
are proportionately big, their extremities small ; their 
complexion is less dark than that of the Ainu and the hair 
less thick, the beard being almost nil. Their hair is black 
or brown, their eyebrows are strongly marked ; their faces 
are flat and almost square ; the forehead is low, round and 
somewhat receding, the cheekbones prominent, the eyes small 
and slanting, the nose small and snub, the mouth big, the 
lips thin. The population is 2,407, of whom 1,329 are males. 
Despite their name signifying ' reindeer-keepers ' they are 
now a fisher-folk. 

K. — Goldi 

Territory, divisions. — The Goldi live along the Amur and 
its tributaries the Ussuri and the Sungari. There are three 
divisions of them, differentiated more by the dialect that 
they use than by any other peculiarity: (1) from the mouth 
of the Gorin where they are conterminous with the Olcha to 
the Gion Mountain, (2) from the Gion Mountain to the mouth 
of the Ussuri and up that river ; (3) from the mouth of the 
Ussuri up the Amur and Sungari. This last group is called 
Kilens : the name Khodz is given to those Goldi who live 
below Khabarovsk. 

Intercourse with Chinese. Physical appearance. — The Goldi 
have acted as transmitters of culture : they have absorbed 
much that China had to teach them and have in turn greatly 
affected the tribes beyond them, especially the Gilyak, who 
owe to them many features in their art, customs, and ideas. 
Their physical type has been modified by this intercourse 
also, and some of them present certain differences in appear- 
ance from the northern Tungus. The face is round or oval 
with the well-known ' Mongol ' characteristics : broad cheek- 
bones, oblique small eyes, broad, thin, low nose. But the 
other type is found not less frequently : there is a certain 
breadth in the cheeks, the eyes are less oblique, the nose is 
higher and more arched, the lips are thicker. Both types 
have black hair and eyes (occasionally grey), and have bony 

GOLDI 185 

and muscular frames. Their beard and moustache are poor. 
They have one form of tattoo which is used by both sexes, 
viz. four spots on the forehead arranged as a cross. In 
character they have been described as timid, good-natured, 
and honest. 

Numbers. — They number 5,016, of whom 2,640 are males. 

Occupations, dwellings, clothing. — It is difficult to describe 
with great accuracy their ideas and way of life, because the 
travellers to whom most of our detailed information is due 
have not been careful to distinguish them from their neigh- 
bours. Their chief employment is fishing, for which purpose 
they use small birch-bark canoes for one man, and also 
larger boats of three principal planks, mostly of cedar-wood, 
fastened by wooden pegs and caulked with willow-bark, 
of about the length of 15 ft., adapted for crossing shallows 
and capable of carrying sails. They are expert oarsmen and 
are serviceable to the Russians in that capacity. They 
employ dogs to tow their boats upstream. They have an 
ingenious method of recovering the harpoon after they have 
thrown it ; there is a fish -bladder attached by a line 35 ft. 
long and that, as it floats, indicates where it is. One method 
of securing fish when they descend the Amur is to fix firmly 
to the bed of the stream a row of tressels connected by cross- 
beams, and the interstices filled by wickerwork of willows : 
in a gap in the latter the Goldi put their fishing-nets and 
secure large catches. When they have dried their fish they 
sometimes protect them against the assault of birds by 
chaining an eagle in the vicinity. They do a certain amount 
of hunting, but have settled habitations, and are not nomads, 
though they may be absent from home for a long period. 
They are also good smiths and make beautiful ornamental 
spear-heads. Agriculture is confined to the cultivation of 
small plots of land in which they grow vegetables and tobacco 
surrounding their dwellings. These latter are on the lines 
of Chinese houses ; they are built of poles with beaten clay 
between, or a mixture of clay and straw. The floor is covered 
with clay, and has a hole with charcoal in it, kept burning 


Rummer and winter, for the purpose of lighting pipes. These 
houses are about 30 or 40 ft. square, and will accommodate 
sometimes 30 or 40 people. Their costume varies, and they 
are most receptive of alien fashions. The same man will 
wear at different times a Russian overcoat, a Chinese dress 
or a fish-skin suit. The women are highly skilful in needle- 
work and embroidery, and tastefully adorn their skirts and 

Customs. — In a population where men are in a majority 
there is naturally no polygamy. They are Shamanists in 
religion, and bury their shamans and other great ones in huts ; 
the bodies of the poor are bestowed in coffins placed in trees 
out of the reach of wild beasts. Their favourite amusement 
is wrestling, and the singing of improvised songs. 



Elements of Immigrant Population — Distribution and Number of Colonists 
— The Present System of Colonization — The Exile System — Colonization of 
the various Provinces — Distribution of Russian Population — The Yellow 
Question and Colonization — Encouragement of Colonization in Arctic 

Elements of Immigrant Population 

Early Colonization : Cossacks 

The colonization of Siberia has been a long process, at 
first gradual, and recently very rapid, that has extended over 
more than three hundred years. The conquests of Yermak 
in the reign of Ivan the Terrible were soon followed by the 
arrival of the first colonists. It was in 1593 that the first 
settlers arrived : they came from the town of Uglich, and 
had been too zealous in making known the plot against the 
Tsarevich Dmitri. But the earliest settlers were not as a rule 
exiles, but either traders attracted by the fur trade, or 
Cossacks whose settlements were extended across the continent 
to protect the new settlers. In 1637, Yakutsk was founded, 
and about the middle of the century Khabarov occupied the 
banks of the Amur (see Chap. XVIII). In the eighteenth 
centurj^ when the borders of Asiatic Russia had become res- 
tricted, Transbaikal was largely occupied by Cossacks from the 
Don, and their descendants have constituted a hereditary 
military caste and have formed the nucleus of future military 
colonies in the Far East. The Cossacks have had special 
privileges as settlers : in central Siberia they are granted 
60 acres of land per man. But it is difficult for them to combine 
their functions of settlers and soldiers, and the individual 
Cossack is usually so much a worse colonist as he has discharged 


his military duties effectively. (For the origin of the Cossacks 
see p. 357.) 

In the eighteenth century a line of forts was constructed 
along the River Irtish, from Omsk in a south-easterly direction 
as a protection against the wild tribes of the Kirghiz steppes : 
the military occupation of this district preceded the advent of 
civilian settlers, which was not really developed till near the 
end of the nineteenth century. 


But another and very different source of immigrants soon 
began to be drawn upon. The first recorded mention of 
exile to Siberia in any Russian legislation is in a law of the 
Tsar Alexis Mikhailovich in 1648. Exile was largely used 
at first as a means of getting rid of disabled criminals, men on 
whom some savage sentence of mutilation had been carried 
out, and, as was natural to expect, such men were useless as 
colonists. Then at the close of the seventeenth century it 
was regarded as desirable to send exiles to populate new terri- 
tory : an extensive criminal code supplied large contingents 
when exile was the recognized penalty for such different 
offences as fortune-telling, snuff-taking, driving with rein? 
and setting fire to property accidentally. The discovery of 
mineral wealth added a fresh incentive : rich mines were 
found at Yekaterinburg, and this together with the establish- 
ment of manufactories in Irkutsk led to a large demand 
for labour, which was met by extensions of the punishment 
of exile to fresh crimes. In the year 1753 capital punishment 
was abolished in Russia, and its place was taken by perpetual 
banishment to Siberia with hard labour. 

The exiles dispatched to Siberia fell under three designa- 
tions : they were either criminal, political, or religious. In 
1900 exile to Siberia was abolished, though in 1904 it was 
restored for political offences and the number of political exiles 
was greatly swelled by the revolutionary outbreaks of the 
period of ' Vladimir's day '. In 1906 45,000 political exiles 
entered Siberia. For a long time the exiles (kolodniks) were 


driven in herds from one village to another without any proper 
arrangements being made for them, and they were often starved 
on the way. At the beginning of the nineteenth century 
more satisfactory arrangements were made : in 1811 a suitable 
force of regular guards was organized to convoy parties of 
exiles, and all exiles were furnished with identifying documents 
(stateini spiski) to show who they were and whither they 

(were bound. In 1817 etapes (ostrogs) were established along 
the main roads ; they stand now easily identified in the villages 
in western Siberia, often, it is said, the most cheerful -looking 
building in the community. In eastern Siberia they are 
usually outside. In 1823 a bureau of exile-administration 
was established in Tobolsk, which has since been removed 
to Tyumen, and through that has passed the endless procession 
of exiles, political and criminal. No record of them was kept 
until 1823 : since that date to 1898 there have passed by 
700,000 exiles ; and with them 216,000 voluntary followers 
(dobrovolni) . The criminal prisoners fall under two heads : 
(1) Jcatorgeni rabotniki (criminal convicts), who are sentenced 
to hard labour ; (2) poselentsi, who are condemned to shorter 
periods of imprisonment. During this same period 187,000 
criminal exiles with 107,000 companions have entered Siberia. 
Since 1870 the government has done its best to keep apart 
the criminal from the peaceful colonists. From that date the 
convicts were confined more and more to the Lena territory 
and parts of the Far East, while until recently the northern 
part of the island of Sakhalin retained by Russia has been 
almost exclusively a penal colony. The political exiles have 
been mainly in west and central Siberia. A great terror to 
life has been added by the escaped convicts (brodyagi) in 
various parts of Siberia. Escape is easy; one writer in 
1902 says that one-third of the transported escape all control 
and wander, rob, and terrorize. On the other hand the political 
exile who settles in the country often adds the most enlightened 
element of the populace to the community : such men settle 
in the towns ; they open shops and enter into the social life, 
being readily trusted and hospitably treated by. the inhabi- 


tants, and they found a progressive public opinion. They 
have been among the best sections of the community, and have 
added much to the development of the country : some of them 
have been among the most enterprising of its explorers : e. g. 
Bogoras, whose work on the inhabitants of the Chukchee 
Peninsula is the most important contribution to our knowledge 
of that district. Some political exiles have become the trusted 
agents of the government in the districts to which they have 
been sent. 

The exiles who were sent for religious reasons need a special 
word. The great occasion for their banishment arose from the 
opposition to the reforms of Nikon in ecclesiastical matters, 
and afterwards to those of Peter the Great in social and 
political affairs. Nikon in the middle of the seventeenth 
century had tried to make the ritual of the Russian Church 
conform more exactly in certain small matters with that of 
other branches of the Eastern Church, removing certain 
errors from the liturgical books. To a conservative opposition 
this was apostasy, and when Peter came, Nikon was Antichrist. 
So there arose great numbers of dissenters {raskolniki) : 
their first great division was into Popovists or supporters of 
the priesthood, and Bezpopovists who felt that the priesthood 
was hopelessly vicious, as the Church had become apostate. 
Both parties believed in Apostolic Succession, and the Popo- 
vists had carried with them in their secession a bishop through 
whom the succession from the apostles might be transmitted ; 
but he died before he could consecrate a successor. There 
was even some talk of cutting off his hands that their ' laying 
on ' might convey the gifts of the Spirit, but, as the words 
of consecration could not be said, the idea was abandoned. 
They had therefore to depend upon runaway priests. The 
Bezpopovists resorted to other and more direct methods 
of a continuance of spiritual grace : e. g. they would stand 
looking upwards with their mouths wide open, that spiritual 
blessings might reach them from heaven by that means. 
These raskolniki are ascetic, industrious, and abstemious, 
abstaining entirely from alcohol and tobacco. They are the 


predominant element among the settlers of Transbaikal, at 
any rate among those who have been settled for any appreci- 
able period upon the land : the Don Cossacks are nearly all 
raskolniki. They are not a learned folk, but at the same 
time they encourage elementary education sufficient for 
reading the Bible. 

There are other sects, some of which indulge in extrava- 
gances that contravene all morality. Among the more 
peculiar sects are the Skoptsi, found chiefly in settlements 
round Yakutsk. 

In dealing with religious dissent periods of persecution and 
toleration have alternated, but the raskolniki now constitute 
as much as 10 per cent, of the population of the whole Russian 

Enforced Settlement on lines of Communication 

Besides the actual exiles another class of settlers should be 

mentioned, viz. those peasants who have been bound to settle 

at appointed places in order to maintain communications 

along the roads, and the yamshchiks who drive travellers 

. along the various sections of the post-roads. 

Free settlers 

The last element in the immigrant population of Siberia 
and much the most important is that of the free settlers, 
whether helped by the government or not. Voluntary immi- 
grants (samovolni) settled of their own accord in the remotest 
parts of Siberia, and founded communal colonies as in Euro- 
pean Russia. Being quite cut off from their kindred by 
reason of the immense distance, they intermarried with the 
Cossacks or with the natives. Where the Russian element has 
not been very strong they have even adopted the language 
of the natives among whom they dwell. Thus the Russians 
who live among the Buryats and Yakuts have often adopted 
their language. The descendants of these settlers are the 
Siberiaks who have lost their national sentiment while retaining 
many of the habits and customs of Russians. This resulting 



race is shorter and of darker complexion, of lower morals 
but stronger independence. During the eighteenth century 
and for a considerable portion of the nineteenth the Russian 
government did what it could to discourage the samovolni. 

But of recent years the warmest encouragement has been 
given to free settlers in Siberia by the Russian government. 
This was made possible by the abolition of serfdom in 1861 ; 
riot till then could the Russian peasant leave his native soil. 
For the first 300 years of Russian occupation something like 
3,000,000 persons immigrated from European to Asiatic 
Russia. But there was a marked increase in the number of 
immigrants in 1896, and since the Russo-Japanese War more 
have arrived than the numbers during the three previous 
centuries. In 1914 the sum of £3,000,000 a year was voted for 
the development of colonization in Siberia, whereas previous 
to 1896 only £100,000 had been voted and in 1906 £500,000. 
Between 1909 and 1913 the area of new land' surveyed and 
parcelled out for colonization was 18,000,000 desyatins (i. e. 
75,850 square miles), and 350,000 families were settled. To 
this have to be added 6,000,000 desyatins (25,000 square miles) 
of land belonging to old mirs (village communities) brought 
under cultivation during those same years. 

Distribution and Number of Colonists 

Colonization has been mainly directed to the black earth 
zone, through which run the Trans-Siberian Railway and the 
great Siberian road. It extends from about lat. 58° 30' N. to 
55° N., though in the Altai district the region of colonization 
comes as far south as lat. 51° N., where there has been a great 
inrush of colonists since the ' Cabinet ' estates of about 
200,000 square miles were thrown open for general colonization 
in 1906; between 1896 and 1909 one-third of the 3,000,000 
immigrants to Asiatic Russia went to the Altai district. In 
the same period about 900,000 went to the Steppe region, 
about 258,000 to the Tobolsk region, and about 300,000 to the 
east of Lake Baikal. The Tomsk Government (outside the 


Altai) attracted nearly 500,000 and the Yeniseisk Government 
nearly 400,000. Only 18,000 went to Turkestan. 

The growth of colonization can be shown by the following 
figures. From 1870 to 1890, 500,000 settlers entered Siberia ; 
from 1896 to 1905, 1,078,000. The years that followed the 
Russo-Japanese War have shown even greater numbers of 
colonists, as the following table shows : — 

^Year. Settlers entering Asiatic Russia 















During the five years between 1909 and 1913, 75,850 square 
miles were parcelled out for colonization and settled by a new 
population of about 1,500,000. During this period also about 
6,300 miles of road were constructed. The decrease in the 
number of emigrants in 1910 was attributed to the first of 
a succession of good harvests in southern Russia. 

There is a marked decline in the number of emigrants who 
return each year to Russia. Excluding khodoki (see below) 
and migratory labourers, the percentage of returning colonists 
has fallen to about 4 per cent, a year. This applies to all 
the districts except the provinces of Yeniseisk and Irkutsk, 
and in those two colonies special climatic conditions had 
reduced many colonists to destitution. 

The Present System of Colonization 
Selection and tenure of land 

The colonization of Asiatic lands is directed by the 
Ministry of Agriculture. Every effort is made to secure 
that immigration shall be popular, and to encourage the 
development of the remoter parts. By now the more attrac- 


tive parts for settlement are practically all occupied, including 
the districts through which the railway runs and the imperial 
lands in the Altai district, but settlers can obtain loans from 
the State if their land is in the taiga where much clearing 
has to be done, or in the steppes where deep wells have to be 
dug, or in the far east on account of its great distance. The 
loan for difficult regions or lands in the far east may be 400 
roubles, and in Transbaikal 250-400 roubles. These loans 
are on easy terms : nothing at all is paid for the first three 
years, and after that the debt is paid off in instalments for 
the next 10 years. Sometimes the second half of the loan 
is remitted altogether. One condition, however, is always 
enforced, and that is that a khodok goes out in advance to view 
the land. A khodok is a man who is sent out to see whether 
the land is suitable for colonization. One khodok may re- 
present several families, but not more than five. He usually 
goes a year before the intending settler, and after selecting 
the land returns to Russia. He must travel with a certificate, 
which is given gratuitously. From April to June is the best 
season for judging the land, but the settlers themselves go 
out before the winter is over for fear of losing their chance of 
securing the land that they wish : sometimes they commence 
their occupation before the snow is gone, which precipitancy 
may lead to very disappointing results for them. Khodoki 
are not included in the table given above. 

Privileges of emigrants 

Other privileges are conferred on settlers. For the first 
five years they are exempted from taxation, and for the next 
five years they only pay a half. Settlers above the age of 
eighteen have their military service postponed for three years. 
In the eastern parts of the Amur General Government and 
in Turkestan settlers over fifteen have six years' postponement 
of service. Such Russian colonists as inhabit the lower valleys 
of the Lena and Yenisei are altogether exempted from military 
service as an inducement to continue their struggle against the 
forces of nature, Should the elder son die while the younger 



is in the ranks, the latter is immediately given his discharge 
and goes back to the farm. Further, the government has 
started depots for agricultural machinery of modern type. In 
1909 there were 64 of these depots, in 1913 there were 300. 
In 1898 the value of the agricultural machinery imported into 
Siberia was 211,900 roubles ; in 1913 it was 8,400,000. 

Again, in his first year the new colonist is supplied by the 
vernment with enough seed-corn to enable him to sow three 
syatins of land. Along the routes there are hospitals for 
e immigrants, who travel in fourth-class carriages (those 
carriages marked as accommodating 40 men or 8 horses) 
at a cost of 3 roubles for 1,000 versts, which means less than 
Is. for 100 miles. Children under 10 are carried free. Baggage, 
horses and cattle are taken at very low rates. There are 
thirty stations arranged for the distribution of land, the largest 
of which is at Chelyabinsk. 

At Chelyabinsk, Kansk, and Stryetensk a large number of 
houses have been erected for the temporary accommodation 
of the immigrants. Along the lines are stations where free 
medical aid is given. Hot food is served out free of charge 
to children under 10 and sick people. Those who fall victims 
to infectious diseases are given free treatment in government 

Ninety-six per cent, of the land in Siberia belongs to the 
State : only in the Amur territory is it ever purchased. The 
usual amount allotted is now from 8 to 15 desyatins to each 
male member of a family. The Cossacks have had land 
allotted to them on a more liberal scale, each male having been 
given in central Siberia 60 acres, in the Amur General Govern- 
ment 100. New land for ' freehold ' farms is allotted in 
parcels of 25-50 desyatins of arable land to each family 
irrespective of the number of males. An immigrant from 
Russia gets on an average a farm nine times as large as that 
which he had in Europe. The land is conveyed to the settlers 
by letters of allotment : it continues to be state-property, 
but for the perpetual benefit of the settler, who has no right 
to sell or mortgage it. 


All the land set aj)art for communes of immigrants is now 
carefully surveyed, parcelled out and assessed for loans and 

Conditions of colonization and sources of emigration 

The great incentive to colonization from Russia is that 
the peasants in Europe occupy plots which only require work 
for from 60 to 75 days in the year, and cannot find work in the 
neighbourhood. In Asia they are assigned allotments large 
enough to give them work for the whole year. They come 
mainly from the northern part of the black earth zone in 
middle Russia, and to a less extent from Lithuania and the 
Governments of Perm and Vyatka. They are apt to retain 
the local characteristics of their old home ; thus the settlers 
from the Government of Poltava tend to dislike innovations, 
and those from the Government of Mogilev do not generally 
bear a good name as efficient colonists. Every year the 
Russian government points out what tracts of country are 
open to colonization, where villages may be built, what 
improvements have been made in irrigation. The colonial 
villages are definitely planned and scheduled before they 
contain a single inhabitant. 

The sites of villages are often determined by strategical 
considerations, the military authorities requiring a certain 
number along the line of this or that hill or valley. The class 
of Russians who are allowed to settle in Asia is determined 
by the government. Thus in 1914 the government declared 
that the following might settle beyond the Ural : ' all peasants 
and those engaged exclusively in agriculture, and also artisans, 
workmen, factory-hands, merchants and shopkeepers. People 
of other classes must, before emigrating, apply to the governor 
of the province in which they live.' It further publishes 
a summary of information showing intending colonists exactly 
what their status and privileges will be. Those who belong 
to forms of religion that discountenance military service are 
not allowed to settle in certain provinces (e. g. Semiryechensk). 


The Exile System 
Improvement in Condition of Exiles 
To the outer world Siberia has been more associated with 
the exile system than with any other fact, and novelists, 
journalists, and travellers have made its features familiar ; 
but the long march of many months along the roads has given 
place to the more rapid transit by the arestantski wagons on 
the railway, and the abolition of exile for ordinary criminals 
has completely transformed its associations. For some years 
there have been no processions of convicts, the katorgeni 
shaved on the right side of their head, the poselentsi shaved 
on the left, nor daily tramps of 20 miles from etape to etape, 
with military guards relieving each other at the intermediate 
stages (poletape). 

Relations of Exile with Colonization 
The effect of the exile system on colonization has been bad. 
For a long time the exiles were not sent to unoccupied land, 
when their period of detention was over, but were attached 
to existing settlements, though not exceeding a proportion of 
one-fifth of the older inhabitants. After that an effort was 
made to detach the actual convicts : they were sent farther 
away, while the political exile, who had usually not been 
banished to so remote a region, took part in the urban life. 
The political exiles are of two kinds, those who have been 
sentenced after a legal trial, and those who have been banished 
by the more arbitrary system of administrative order from 
the Minister of the Interior. These two classes of prisoners 
are divided into those with rights and those without. The 
former can occupy land and earn wages ; the latter are re- 
stricted to a certain number of small trades and their annual 
turnover is limited. They are employed generally on wharfs, 
railways, &c, and in remote districts on post-roads at the 
current rate of wages. A certain amount of convict-labour 
was also employed on railways, with some success in 
central Siberia, but without success on the Ussuri Railway. 


Eight months of work on the railway were allowed to count 
as a year of imprisonment. Gangs of escaped convicts 
{brodyagi) have always been a terror to remote regions. 
These brodyagi find it easy to get away, and the inhabitants 
leave out food for them, not so much from charity as from 
policy, that they may be discouraged from taking it forcibly. 
If any of the brodyagi are found dead with wounds in front 
no particular questions are likely to be asked about their 
death, as it will be assumed that they have been killed by 
somebody in self-defence. It is only when they are found 
dead with their wounds behind that investigation is made. 

The scattering of the prisoners through Siberia was less 
a wrong to them than to the country. Their actual treatment 
seems to have compared favourably with the treatment of 
criminals in most countries ; but the permanent element that 
survived in the country, apart from the political prisoners, 
did not make for its welfare . For every fifty-seven inhabitants 
Siberia has received one criminal or jjolitical prisonei, and in 
1898 (two years before the abolition of the penalty of exile) the 
number of transported persons was 298,574. It must be 
remembered also that a large proportion of the exiles (from 
1867 to 1876, more than 50 per cent.) had been banished 
because they had been found refractory or otherwise undesir- 
able by their mirs at home, so that the land was being filled by 
drafts of those who would presumably make the worst settlers. 
Transportation again does not contribute to colonization 
owing to the large proportion of unmarried persons. But, 
worst of all, the country had a bad name, and the development 
of its great resources was thwarted by its penal associations 
which acted as a deterrent to those who would have made its 
best colonists. 

Colonization of the various Provinces 

Tobolsk. — This was the province in which colonization was 

first encouraged, when colonists were settled along the banks 

of the Rivers Tura, Tavda, Tobol, and Ob. It is the province, 

too, in which are the largest number of political exiles. In 




1910 a writer speaks of them as numbering 40,000. Among 
these are a very large contingent of Poles, many of them the 
descendants of former exiles : there were many Poles banished 
in 1758, 1831, and 1863. For a long time Tyumen was the 
great centre of organization of settlers on the land. Now 
these functions are mainly performed at Chelyabinsk ; there 
the settlers are arranged into parties and sent under super- 
tendence to the district which they are to colonize. They 
ve to wait for formal permission to settle, but this precau- 
ion is merely taken in order to prevent debtors from abscond- 
ing. In May 1896, when the great rush of immigrants to 
Siberia began, there would be as many colonists on a par- 
ticular day passing through Chelyabinsk as the whole popula- 
tion of the town (viz. 17,000) . Since the opening of the steppes 
the rush for Tobolsk has considerably diminished, but the 
population is still decidedly increasing. In 1858 it was 
1,021,266 ; in 1897 it was 1,438,484 ; in 1911 it was estimated 
at about 1,975,239. Ninety-three per cent, of the population 
is Russian : the rest of the population includes about 40,000 
Tartars, Bokharians, and Kirghiz, 20,000 Ostyaks, and 15,000 
Samoyedes and Voguls. The bulk of the population is in the 
south of the province. Seventy per cent, live in the steppe 
districts of Kurgan, Ishim, Tyukalinsk, and Yalutorovsk. In 
the Tyukalinsk district there have been since 1802 colonies of 
Finns, descendants of prisoners taken by the Russians in the 
war against Charles XII of Sweden. 

Tomsk has seen a more rapid increase of its population than 
any other province, the extension of colonization being espe- 
cially due to the opening of the Cabinet estates in the Altai 
to general colonization. The northern part of the province 
is Crown land under the Ministry of Agriculture, but the 
southern districts (Barnaul, Biisk, and Zmyeinogorsk), which 
are Imperial lands, are the most thickly populated. Since 
1865 there has been a constant increase of immigration into 
these regions ; in the last decade of last century, 300,000 
settlers arrived, and so attractive are the prospects that this 
rich mining district presents that no facilities are now given 


to new arrivals by the government. The Altai district has 
been kept clear of exiles. By 1900 practically all the available 
land for colonization along the Siberian Railway had been 
taken up. But land has also been allotted in the taigas of 
Tomsk, Chulim, and Mariinsk, and the black earth of the 
taiga is extremely good, when the ground is cleared. The 
increase of population has been phenomenal : in 1858 it was 
694,651 ; in 1897 it was 1,929,092 ; it was estimated in 1911 
at 3,673,746. Of this population 93^ per cent, is Russian ; 
one city, Kainsk, is predominantly Jewish. Other elements 
in the population are Ostyaks in the north, Samoyedes (about 
6,500), Tartars and Bokharians (' Kalmuks '), and Teleuts 
or Telengites in the Altai. 

Steppe General Government. — The Russians first arrived in 
these parts in the sixteenth century. The type has become 
much transformed by cross-breeding, and has grown to approxi- 
mate to that of the Siberian steppe-dweller. Military occu- 
pation long preceded the coming of peaceful colonists. Their 
settlements along the River Irtish and along the Biisk line 
in the Tomsk Government guarded the country against Tartar 
invasion : as many as 5,174,949 desyatins were occupied by 
troops ; but it was felt towards the end of last century that 
the Cossacks did little for the civilization of the wild nomadic 
tribes. In 1868 there was not yet a single peasant settlement. 
In 1875 a cry was raised for peasant immigrants, when the 
Governor-General of the Steppes stated that the civilizing 
effects of the Cossack settlements were very indifferent, and 
accordingly a survey of the Akmolinsk steppe was ordered. 
The Russification of the Kirghiz on the steppes has been due 
much more to methods of peaceful penetration by traders and 
settlers than to the military occupation of the country, though 
in Akmolinsk the proportion of Cossacks to the whole popula- 
tion was 109 to the thousand, and in Semipalatinsk 42 to the 
thousand. In introducing the peasant settlers every effort 
was made that they should encroach as little as possible on 
the rights of the native tribes. As in all provinces where there 
are many Cossacks, raskolniki abound, and in some parts 


(e. g. round Kokchetav and Petropavlovsk) a certain number 
of Cossacks, estimated at 1,700, are Mohammedans. The 
greatest element in the steppe population is now the peasants : 
in Akmolinsk they are 54-2 per cent., though in Uralsk they 
are only 16-5 per cent. The Cossacks are most in Uralsk, 
where they are 75 per cent., while the artisans, gentry, and 
official class are most in Turgai (48 per cent.) and Semipala- 
tinsk (41-6 per cent.). The Kirghiz are still considerably the 
largest section of the population. The population has grown 
enormously in Akmolinsk, less in Semipalatinsk, the figures 
being in Akmolinsk in 1858, 277,451, in 1897, 678,957, and 
in 1911 (estimated), 1,443,721 ; in Semipalatinsk in 1858, 
217,451, in 1897, 685,197, and in 1911 (estimated), 873,760. 

Yeniseisk. — The bulk of the land in this province lying to 
the north is stony and swampy and unfit for cultivation. The 
district of Turukhansk, which comprises more than two- 
thirds of the territory, only contains a small proportion of the 
population. Fully 80 per cent, of the inhabitants live in the 
district of the railway. The most favoured part of all is 
Minusinsk, where, attracted by the best climate in Siberia, 
a large number of settlers have planted themselves at their 
own risk. In 1907 the Government Survey Staff surveyed 
and prepared for incoming colonists unoccupied territory 
to the extent of 102,600 desyatins. When the Russians 
settled in this district they drove the native inhabitants either 
north to the tundras or south to the Minusinsk steppes. The 
native inhabitants include in the north, Ostyaks, Samoyedes, 
Tungus, Yuraks, and Yakuts ; in the south,' ' Kalmuks', Teleut 
Tartars, Chern Tartars, Sagais and Abakansk Tartars. In 
the Achinsk and Minusinsk districts the native population 
was growing in 1900. The Russians, however, are about 90 per 
cent, of the population. Yeniseisk had 303,256 inhabitants 
in 1858, 559,902 in 1897, and in 1911 they were estimated at 

Irkutsk. — The conditions in this province have been much 
the same as in Yeniseisk. In both, the bulk of the population 
is settled along the railway. But more than in Yeniseisk 


the district was used as a dumping-ground for convicts. Before 
1900, convicts to the number of 950 to 1,000 were forwarded 
annually. Until the Siberian Railway was opened there was 
very little immigration into this region, but it is now rapidly 
developing. In 1896 grants of 15 desyatins per man were 
made. Native populations, which a few years ago were 
reckoned at 21 per cent, of the whole, include Buryats, 
Tungus, Tartars, Ostyaks, and Soyots. In 1858 the popula- 
tion was 222,533, in 1897 it was 506,517, and in 1911 it was 
estimated at 750,000. 

Yakutsk. — There is little that can be called colonization in 
this vast territory. Russian population is only found where 
there are mines : even the posthouses along the Lena post- 
road are largely kept by Yakuts, and where the Russian 
population is sparse it has adopted the Yakut language. In 
1897 the population was 261,731 ; in 1911 it was estimated 
at 277,187. 

Transbaikal. — The conditions of this territory are some- 
what special. Peasant colonies are rare ; most of the settlers 
pass through it and fix their habitations in the Amur district. 
In 1900 it was estimated that only 12 per cent, of the settled 
land was occupied by peasants, while 45 per cent, belonged 
to the natives and 35 per cent, was in the hands of the Cossacks. 
But only 27 per cent, of the total area of the Transbaikal is 
cultivated at all, 40,000,000 desyatins lying waste. There are 
a great number of exile -settlers in this district, the abode of 
many who have become vagrants not being known. The 
most famous exiles of this district were the Dekabrists, as 
those who took part in the plot of December 14, 1825, are 
styled. These were made to construct their own prison in 
Chita, and by their improvements in draining and levelling 
transformed the place from a village into a prosperous settle- 
ment, now the capital of the province. The Cossack occupa- 
tion of the province dates from the middle of the seventeenth 
century ; in the eighteenth century it was more fully enlarged 
and organized. When in the fifties of last century the Amur 
region was absorbed by Russia, Transbaikal Cossacks were 


transferred there. The land assigned to the Cossacks amounts 
to 3,000,000 desyatins : it is under the management of the 
community represented by the stanitsa or village and the; 
sotnya or group of a hundred soldiers. A great number of 
rasholniki live in this territory. It was the scene of exile 
of the famous dissenter Avakum. The Russian element in 
the population in 1900 was estimated at 64 per cent. The 
peasants are settled principally in the Selenginsk, Verkhne- 
Udinsk and Chita districts ; the Cossacks occupy the land near 
the frontier and the villages of the Rivers Dzhida, the lower 
Chikoi, the Onon, the Ingoda, the Shilka, and all the eastern 
portion of the territory. Sometimes their settlements alter- 
nate with peasant villages. The native tribes are the Tungus 
and the Buryats : the former are chiefly in the districts of 
Chita, Selenginsk, and Barguzin ; the latter mostly in the 
same districts and Verkhne-Udinsk. The growth of popula- 
tion has been steady : in 1858 it was 352,534 ; in 1897 it was 
664,071 ; in 1911 it was estimated at 868,790. 

Amur. — The beginning of Russia's colonization of the Amur 
territory was in the spring of 1857. A regiment of three sotnyas 
of Transbaikal Cossacks was ordered to settle with their wives 
and children along the Amur. They came down the river on 
rafts and were settled in stanitsas along the river at distances 
varying from 12 to 18 miles, the distance being determined 
rather from the desire of keeping up communications than the 
suitability of the places for agriculture. Their task was to 
defend the frontier towards China and to provide postal com- 
munication between the Amur district and Transbaikal. The 
original settlers suffered terribly from the natural difficulties 
with which they had to contend, so that, although it was 
a peaceful occupation, the casualties were equivalent to those 
of a campaign ; later, in 1877, an inundation spoilt most of 
the land assigned to the Amur Cossacks. In four years from 
their first arrival they had established throughout the Amur 
basin 60 villages with a population of 11,850. The land had 
been previously uninhabited with the exception of the con- 
fluence of the Zeya and Amur, where Chinese Manchus lived. 


In 1869 peasant colonization began, the first settlers being 
religious sectaries from the Tauric and Samara Governments. 
There are a large number of rasholniki in the territory, esti- 
mated at 10 per cent, of the population, the most prominent 
being the Bezpopovists and Molokani (milk-drinkers). Immi- 
gration is now on a large scale, even where no government 
assistance is given, and despite the journey of a month or 
six weeks required to reach this region. Whole families are 
added to communes which still have free land at their disposal. 
Colonists, where there are fifteen or more families from the 
same place, form a commune together, which receives its name 
according to the desire of the settlers. Nansen gives the 
figures of the total population in 1911 as 286,263, of whom 
43,959 were non-Russians : that is to say, mostly yellow men. 
At Blagoslovennoe, at the junction of the Samara and Amur, 
there is a settlement of about 1,000 Koreans. Manchu-Chinese 
are found mainly along the river for 44 miles below Blago- 
slovennoe and for 14 miles inland. In 1897 the population 
of the territory was 118,570. In 1911 it was estimated at 

Maritime Province (Primorsk). — Following on the occupa- 
tion of the Amur territory came the occupation of the Ussuri 
district. Battalions of Cossacks from the Transbaikal had 
orders to settle along the Ussuri : the colonization of the 
district began in 1859, but progressed slowly. As in the Amur 
territory, the original settlers suffered terribly, and were 
assigned land without proper care being taken to see whether 
it was suitable for colonization. The actual journey to their 
new settlements took a year and a half. A big inundation 
of the Ussuri added to their troubles, and their morale was 
not improved when they were joined by an army which had 
been sent there for a punishment. They had difficulty in 
resisting a Chinese revolt in 1868, and many of them became 
dependent on the Manses (Manzi) for money help and found 
them rigorous and exacting masters. In 1882 an experiment 
was made ; a three years' trial was to be given to 250 families 
brought annually from Odessa at the cost of the Government, 


315,000 roubles per annum being assigned for the purpose. 
Altogether to the Ussuri district there have migrated between 
1859 and 1913 about 250,000 Russian peasants, exclusive of 
the Cossack population : some of the new settlers came from 
Siberia, some from European Russia. The Cossacks were 
posted along the Ussuri valley, but further investigation was 
made to see how much room there was for more settlers, and 
in 1911 the colonists were granted Cossack land to a reasonable 
extent ; the Cossacks, who had the pick of the land, not being 
as a rule very good settlers. In another part of the xorovince, 
sailors stationed at the mouth of the Amur have been allowed 
to retire after 15 years' service, have received a plot of land, 
and have been permitted to send for their wives and children 
at the expense of the Government. The Russian population 
is settled mainly in the valleys of the Rivers Suifun, Lefu, and 
Suchan, about Lake Khanka, along the right bank of the 
Sungacha and Ussuri, and in the district about Olgi Bay. The 
great increase of immigration after the Russo-Japanese war 
found the local authorities unprepared, and the defective 
arrangements had a prejudicial effect in later years. Nansen 
gives the figures of the total population in 1911 as 523,840, 
of whom 360,437 were Russians ; but these figures do not 
include the Chinese and Koreans, who work during the summer 
and then return to their homes. The number of settlers from 
1900 to 1909 was 142,674, and in the year 1913, 13,011. 

Kamchatka is the name for the territory detached from the 
Maritime Province, including all that is north of lat. 56° N. 
It is not at all adapted for colonization. The attempts made 
in past years have been practically abandoned. Only a few 
Russians are found at isolated points, and the entire popula- 
tion in 1911 was only estimated at 36,012. Investigations 
into the possibility of colonizing Kamchatka are proceeding. 

Sakhalin. — By the Convention of March 18, 1867, Russia 
and Japan secured the common right to occupy unappro- 
priated places all over the island. This caused a keen com- 
petition between them, but Japan had the advantage of being 
a close neighbour, and the Russians were forced either to 


draw settlers from Europe by the inducement of great privi- 
leges, or to found settlements of unmarried soldiers, a system 
which was valueless for the purpose of peopling the country. 
The Russians had not enough men to occupy the desirable 
places in the island ; so they erected posts which bore inscrip- 
tions to show that occupation had taken place. This method 
was promptly copied by the Japanese. In 1869 a party of 
800 convicts was sent to Sakhalin, and when it became 
a penal colony all women sentenced to hard labour were for- 
warded to this island from European Russia ' with a view to 
secure the family principle '. All exile settlers receive grants 
of land and a loan from the Government for the organization 
of the household ; on obtaining a good character they are 
allowed to settle in the Amur and Maritime territories. On 
April 25, 1875, the Japanese share in Sakhalin was exchanged 
for the Kuril Islands, but by the treaty of Portsmouth (1905) 
Russia lost all the island south of lat. 50° N. In 1897, while 
the island was entirely in Russian hands, the population was 
estimated as follows : 

Official class (military and civil) 2,500 

Peasants 8,000 

Exile settlers 7,500 

Exile convicts 7,000 

The population of what remains to Russia was estimated in 
1911 as 8,849. 

The colonization of the Far East has been a matter of the 
first political importance for the protection of the Russian 
interests, but a great deal has to be done to make it a success 
in view of the special difficulties. The loans, usually of 150 
to 200 roubles, are too small ; there is a great dearth of roads 
and no sufficient organization of development in road-making ; 
there are no possibilities of a large sale of the produce of the 
farms in the neighbourhood ; greater efforts should be made 
to secure that the new conditions shall be approximated as 
much as possible to the old conditions of the settlers. 



The growth of population in Siberia, mainly due to immigra- 
tion, has been very remarkable. A population which at the 
end of the eighteenth century was about 1,500,000 is now 
estimated at more than 12,000,000, including districts of 
Central Asia. Even in the forty years between 1858 and 1897, 
before the great wave of immigration, it had doubled itself. 
The same rapid growth may be seen in particular towns ; as 
one illustration Novo-Nikolaevsk may be mentioned. It was 
founded in 1896, and in 1913 it had a population of 70,600 

The areas inhabited by Russians are the following : 

In the north along the great rivers we find Russians in 
isolated districts along the Ob : e. g. Narim, the confluence 
with the Irtish, Berezov, &c. The Yenisei valley and the 
Lena valley down to Yakutsk are settled by Russians and 
so are lateral strips of land between, along the river Vilyui and 
to the Lower Tunguska ; further east there are isolated points, 
such as Verkhoyansk and Nizhne-Kolimsk. 

The black earth belt is the chief zone of Russian occupation : 
the northern boundary of settlement runs by Verkhoture, 
Turinsk, Tobolsk, Tara, Kainsk, Tomsk, Yeniseisk, thence 
along the line of the Upper Tunguska to the upper Lena ; 
the southern boundary runs south of the great Siberian road 
and Siberian railway from Verkhne-Uralsk to Omsk ; thence 
along the River Irtish till it nears the Mongolian frontier. 
The boundary line of the Russian district then runs north 
almost to Mariinsk ; then with a detour to include the district 
round Minusinsk, the line runs south of the great Siberian road 
to the south-west corner of Lake Baikal and along the eastern 
shore of the lake. 

There are ' islands ' of Russian occupation about the Kirghiz 
steppes, e. g. Kokchetav, Atbasar and Karkaralinsk. 

Other districts in Eastern Siberia occupied by Russians are : 

(1) The Selenga valley to Kyakhta. 

(2) The region from Chita to the confluence of the Rivers 


Shilka and Argun, including all the district between the rivers 
from a line drawn SW. from Chita to the Mongolian frontier. 

(3) The left bank of the Amur to Khabarovsk. 

(4) Both banks of the Amur from Khabarovsk toNikolaevsk. 

(5) The Ussuri valley and the district between Vladivostok 
and Olgi Bay. 

(6) Okhotsk. 

(7) Certain districts in Kamchatka. 

The Yellow Question and Colonization 
Advantages and disadvantages of Chinese labour 

A Russian in the eastern provinces would find it difficult 
to say whether it was hardest to get on with or without the 
labour of the yellow races. On the one hand the presence of 
workers who are frugal and content with low wages, of great 
skill and application, is likely to be a formidable menace to 
the position of the Russian immigrants, and the immigration 
of a yellow population, all of them able-bodied, so that soon 
there will be one oriental labourer to every able-bodied 
Russian, seems likely to justify the warning of Li Hung Chang 
that Russian interference with China would turn Siberia into 
a Chinese province. On the other hand there is no doubt that 
the resources of the land have been enormously developed by 
Chinese labour ; we have only to compare the appearance of 
Vladivostok, where Chinese labour has been largely employed, 
with that of some purely Siberian town to realize how depen- 
dent these eastern provinces are for their prosperity on the 
yellow man. In Vladivostok, Russian paving had to be taken 
up almost as soon as laid and replaced with the work of Chinese 
labourers ; a quay erected by Chinamen soon replaced one 
clumsily erected by Russians. Russia has to face the problem 
whether her eastern provinces shall be developed efficiently 
by the labour of aliens who will surpass her own population 
in numbers and resources, or whether the yellow races shall 
be excluded and the provinces be less completely developed. 
Already, in 1904, of 487 industrial undertakings 192 belonged 


to Orientals and employed no Russians, while 295 belonged 
to Russians but employed yellow labour. In the villages 
the Chinese secure a monopoly of trade among the local 
population, supplying them with all necessaries. At present 
the policy is directed towards exclusion, and it is only surrepti- 
tiously that Chinese labour can be employed in the Amur 
and Ussuri valleys ; at least that was so just before the 
present war broke out, but with the able-bodied men called up 
for military service it is likely that the rigour of the policy 
initiated by the Governor-General of the Priamur will have 
to be considerably modified. 

Strength and distribution of Chinese 

In the Ussuri district the original masters of the land were 
the Chinese tribes of Manses (Manzi), and they have to a con- 
siderable extent reinstated themselves in their old position, 
by the money help that they have given (at usurious interest) 
to the Cossack and peasant settlers and by their bullying 
methods of trading with the native inhabitants. They are 
in a very strong position, as under the terms of the Treaty of 
Peking (1860) Chinese offenders on Russian soil have to be tried 
by Chinese magistrates even for minor offences. In the 
interior of this same region the Chinese have villages of their 
own which are governed by their own headmen. The ruthless 
treatment of the Chinese at Blagovyeshchensk in 1900, when 
numbers of them were driven into the river and drowned 
there, checked for a time Chinese settlement along the Amur, 
but the shortage of agricultural labour during the Russo- 
Japanese War gave an opportunity to the Chinese that they 
did not neglect, and the immigration of the yellow labourers 
received a great impetus despite the fact that Russian prestige 
demanded a reduction in their numbers and importance. 
It was always easy to cross the frontier unperceived, and the 
Russian bank of the Amur and Ussuri was more popular than 
the opposite bank in their own territory. In 1904 the propor- 
tion of Chinese to the Russian population in the Amur and 
Ussuri districts was 16 per cent. In 1908 it was 24 per cent. 



Unlike the Koreans they do not attempt to settle permanently 
on the land. In Transbaikal the spread of Chinese immigration 
was even more decided, especially in 1909. The Chinese 
merchant is found as far west as Irkutsk, and in the country 
east of Baikal the Chinese small trader reigns supreme. Every- 
where much labour is wanted and the Chinese are indispensable. 
Nor will they be less indispensable because the Government 
orders that they shall be dispensed with. A passage from a 
Russian author will illustrate the way in which Russian 
needs are met by labour and commodities from over the 
Chinese frontier : ' A man in Khabarovsk, for instance, lives 
in a house built by Chinese labour of Manchurian timber : 
the stove is made of Chinese bricks. In the morning the 
Manchu vanyka brings water from the well. In the kitchen 
the Chinese boy gets the Tula samovar ready. The master 
of the house drinks his Chinese tea, with bread made of 
Manchurian flour from a Chinese bakery. The Chinese and 
Koreans come and offer their produce, eggs, vegetables, 
fruit from Shanghai and so on. The boy runs to the bazaar 
to fetch Mongolian meat and cooks the dinner. The mistress 
of the house wears a dress made by a Chinese tailor, and the 
master gets into his chetchuncha when the warm weather 
begins. In the yard a Korean is at work chopping wood.' 


The Koreans are an important element among the immi- 
grants. They began to cross the border in 1860. Bad years 
of harvest and the extortions of the official class had driven 
them from their country. In 1869 there was wholesale immi- 
gration from Korea to the Ussuri district, and after that 
there has been a steadily increasing influx. In this country 
there is a great deal of undeveloped land, mostly prairie with 
scattered trees. This land is in the hands of Cossacks who 
live in the villages and spend their time in the taverns while 
the Koreans to whom the land is leased actively develop it. 
They are more efficient farmers than the Russians and 
their results are correspondingly better. They do not blend 


at all with the Russian inhabitants, for instead of living in 
villages they dwell in tents in the middle of their fields. 
Though pre-eminently agriculturists, some of them settle in 
the towns near the scattered gold-mines. 

In 1882 there was an edict that none but Russian subjects 
should acquire land in Siberia : only in exceptional circum- 
stances could the Governor-General give leave to foreigners. 
An agreement was made with the Korean Government that 
Koreans who had immigrated before 1884 could be admitted 
to Russian citizenship, and later arrivals could remain in the 
country for a short time, but must then sell their immovable 
property and return to Korea. This was not put in force 
till 1891, when many Korean settlers were given land by the 
Chinese in Manchuria. Besides the temporary occupation of 
land for short periods, there is an annual migration of Koreans 
who work in these provinces from the spring to the autumn, 
but return home for the winter. 


The immigration of the Japanese has been mainly after the 
Russo-Japanese War. The Japanese artisan is to be found 
throughout eastern Siberia ; in crafts he is superior to the 
average Siberian, and immeasurably so in diligence, sobriety, 
and general trustworthiness. 

The Hunghuses 

There is a further danger which menaces alike the Russian 
settlers and the orderly yellow inhabitants. This comes from 
the Hunghuses, bands of robbers, whose origin is uncertain. 
It seems probable that they have been mainly recruited from 
criminals escaping from j ustice and other dregs of the Chinese 
population, who were attracted to northern Manchuria by its 
remoteness, and, when there, took to gold-mining, a capital 
offence when unauthorized. At first a disorderly rabble, 
they are now armed with Mauser rifles of German military 
pattern. They have long been a terror to the peaceable 
Chinese occupants of the district between the Ussuri and the 

O 2 


Amur. They have penetrated into the Russian territory of 
the Maritime Province, drawn thither by the attraction of 
the poppy-beds, and the desolate character of the interior 
of the province has given them many opportunities of working 
mischief, though they stand in much more awe of Russian 
authority than of Chinese. However, with the withdrawal 
of the bulk of the male population, owing to the European War, 
and the weakening of the village fortifications, the Hunghuses 
were greatly strengthened. There have been sporadic raids 
on Russian settlements, culminating in a serious attack on 
the port at Olgi Bay, to repel which a Russian armed force 
had to be landed. 

Russian Views on Yellow Labour 
Russian writers show great alarm at the growth of yellow 
labour and its competition with that of the white man, who 
has to be fetched from a greater distance and whose standard 
of comfort and proportionate demand for wages is higher. It 
has been pointed out that Russian labour can be brought 
into competition with Chinese by the introduction of labourers 
from the west, who have no intention of settling. Some 
hundreds are brought by the special emigrant tariff ; they 
arrive in the spring and leave in the autumn, and earn several 
hundreds of roubles more than the cost of their journey. For 
public works it is no good making a demand of labour from the 
colonists : they are far too busy during the first years in meeting 
their own requirements, and cannot spare time and labour 
even under the inducement of good pay. The Koreans are 
regarded as more dangerous than the Chinese, because of 
their desire of settling permanently on the land. The alarm 
takes the form of a demand for a huge staff of supervisors 
and inspectors, and a strict registration of the number of yellow 
immigrants. A partial attempt in 1906-7, in part of the 
Primorsk Province, showed that there were in one region only 
of the Ussuri district 14,000 Korean Russian subjects and 
26,000 Korean foreigners, and these numbers should probably 
be increased by 10,000, as the enumeration only took place 
in the most populated southern portion of the district. Other 


demands have been that those suffering from contagious 
diseases shall be prohibited from entrance, that the frontier 
shall only be crossed at certain points and then with the 
sanction of the Russian consul, that annual permits shall be 
held and paid for and a fine exacted if they are not renewed. 
But the most insistent demand is that in all Government 
enterprises Russian labour shall be made to replace the labour 
of the yellow man, even though it cost more. The question 
of their settling on Crown lands is also urgent : many Chinese 
and Koreans are said to be settled owing to some illegality, 
and Russians do not view with equanimity the occupation 
of a large amount of agricultural land by yellow men. 

Encouragement op Colonization in Arctic Russia 

Since 1876 the Russian government has been encouraging 
the colonization of the Murman coast and has offered many 
inducements to settlers, whether Russian born or naturalized 
foreigners. Among other privileges these settlers were exemp- 
ted from actual military service and passed into the naval 
reserve. They were excused the payment of state taxes and 
were allowed to receive, without duty, foreign goods imported 
in Russian or foreign ships direct to the coast. But this regula- 
tion had to be modified, for it led to the wholesale importation 
of intoxicating liquors and general drunkenness. In conse- 
quence the importation of foreign spirituous liquors was 
prohibited. Other privileges granted to Murman settlers 
were : state loans of from £5 to £15 granted at the discretion 
of the government and repayable in six years ; free timber 
for building or a subsidy of £10 to £20 for the purchase of 
timber ; and the right to hunt fur -bearing animals and to 
fish without licences. These conditions applied also to any 
nomadic Lapps who wished to settle definitely on the Murman 
coast. Finns and Norwegians were the earliest settlers to 
be attracted, and later came Russians. The establishment 
of a regular line of steamers between Vardo and Arkhangel, 
under government subsidy, helped the movement. The Finns 
and Norwegians kept to the west and the Russians farther 


east. There are Finn villages on Bolshaya-Volokovaya Bay 
on the west of Ribachi Peninsula. Many of the settlers are 
in villages on Pechenga Gulf, where the Pechenga Monastery 
is situated. Teriberskaya Bay and Gavrilova Bay are well 
peopled. Kola Inlet is another centre of villages, and here 
are the most important settlements on the coast, Kola, 
Murmansk, and Alexandrovsk. 

Preponderating Advantages] 
A writer in the Journal of the Arkhangel Society (Mr. O. M. 
Latkin), in 1912, strongly advocates the colonization of the 
extreme north of European Russia. Against the rigorous 
climate and the absence of means of communication he sets 
the great natural wealth of the region : its mines, meadows, 
forests, and its rich supply of animals, birds, and fish. 

Conditions of colonizing Crown Lands 
In order to attract educated brains for the development 
of these resources he feels it essential to allow a free choice 
of land from the Crown provinces on the following conditions : 
(a) Crown land should be valued proportionately from 10-20 
roubles (£1 Is. 4d. to £2 2s. Sd.) a desyatin (i. e. the value 
of the rent for 100 years — at present the Crown receives 10 
or 20 kopeks (2|cZ. to 5d.) a desyatin for the northern forests) ; 
(6) unreserved rights of working the forests or mines should 
be granted, with the proviso that for forest material a tax 
should be levied according to the already existing tax, of which 
30 per cent, should be paid by the owner to the Crown in part 
payment till the whole is paid ; the remaining 70 per cent, 
should be applied for the benefit of the owner to develop such 
industries as tar-boiling, pitch-distilling, cattle-breeding, or 

The right of owning large tracts should be distributed 
among all classes ; large tracts should be allotted at distances 
of not less than 40 or 50 versts (26 to 34 miles) from one 
another, so that new settlers or the aborigines in the districts 
between should have good models of reformed methods of 
agriculture to copy. 


Roads are the first essential condition. 

There is likely to be obstruction to the colonization of the 
Kanin and Timan tundras from the Samoyedes on the strength 
of an edict of Ivan Vasilovich (April 15, 1545), but there should 
i not be a pedantic insistence on the terms of an obsolete edict 
in view of the good which will be done to the Samoyedes 
themselves, who, having lost nearly all their reindeer and 
being reduced to abject poverty, could learn something of 
rural economy from their new neighbours, and would fare as 
prosperously as the Samoyede village of Kolvinsk on the 
> River Usa in the Pechora district. 

The writer referred to sees no insurmountable obstacle to 
the colonizing of the whole of the north, from the coast of 
Norway to the mouth of the Yenisei, and suggests the employ- 
ment of convict labour to effect his object. 

Various proposals have been made for the construction of 
railways in north-eastern Russia, with a view to linking the 
Ob navigation with ports on the Barents Sea and facilitating 
Siberian trade. Though these railways would be mainly 
concerned with through traffic they would help to open up 
the country and overcome some of its greatest disadvantages 
to colonists. 



Russian Religion: History — The Clergy — Church Government — The 
Orthodox Religion — Raskolniki — Shamanism . 

Russian Religion 


The Russian Orthodox Church is a branch of the Eastern 
Church. In 988 Vladimir was converted and had his subjects 
baptized in platoons in the Dnieper. For a long time the 
Russian Church was in close dependence on Byzantium, but 
with the fall of the Eastern Empire Russia, who had gradually 
asserted her independence, took her place as defender of the 
faith : in the sixteenth century the patriarchate of Moscow 
(transferred from Vladimir and before that from Kiev) was 
recognized by the patriarch of Constantinople. Nikon, 
patriarch of Moscow, in the middle of the seventeenth century, 
carried out a series of reforms consisting largely of the correc- 
tion of errors which had crept into the rites and liturgical 
books ; but, although he insisted that he was only reverting 
to the practice of the primitive Church, his reforms were 
met with much vehement opposition led by the Tsarina. The 
Starovyeri (Old Believers) would not consent to such changes 
as the use of Alleluia three times (in honour of the Trinity) 
instead of twice (in recognition of the human and divine 
nature of Jesus Christ), nor for the same reasons to the use 
of three instead of two ringers in giving the blessing. Ana- 
themas were as ineffective as appeals to reason, and the 
fact that they were anathematized in the year 1666 made the 
Schismatics think of the number of the Beast in the Book of 
Revelation and anticipate the reign of Antichrist. From this 


time dates the great schism, which led to exile and the forma- 
tion of many dissenting bodies. Peter the Great asserted 
his authority by keeping the patriarchate vacant for twenty 
years, and then, in 1721, establishing in its place the Holy 
Synod, consisting of ecclesiastics nominated by himself, with 
the Procurator-General, a layman, as Imperial Representative. 
The Holy Synod now contains the metropolitans of Moscow, 
Petrograd, and Kiev, the Archbishop of Georgia, and other 
bishops sitting in rotation. 

The Clergy 

The clergy are divided into Black (regular or monastic) 
and White (secular), whose brown habit belies their name. 
The former must be celibate, and all bishops and high digni- 
taries of the Church are drawn from among them. Their 
ranks are archierei (metropolitans, archbishops, and bishops), 
archimandrit (abbots), and igumen (priors) : below these 
are the monks. The white clergy are divided into protopopes 
or protierei (parish priests of the largest churches, or of churhes 
with others under them), popes or priests, and deacons, 
lectors, &c, the minor rank being recruited largely from 
intending students who could not pass their examination. 
The priests must be married ; if a priest loses his wife he is 
not permitted to marry again. The parish priests are poorly 
paid and their lives are a constant struggle against poverty ; 
but they have ample spare time, as they have practically no 
duties beyond the holding of services, and visiting their flock 
is entirely at their own discretion : so they can devote them- 
selves to agriculture. In the remoter parts of the north-east 
the priests are known to act as commercial agents, and are 
sometimes at once the purveyors and the victims of drink. 
The village priest lives in a house built for him by the peasants 
and draws his scanty income from diocesan funds : there 
are no tithes, and the bulk of Church property was absorbed 
by Catherine the Great, though Nicholas I restored to the 
Church what had remained in the hands of the Crown. 


Church Government 

There are 66 dioceses (yeparchia) in Russia. The following 
are wholly in Asia : Tobolsk, Omsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, 
Irkutsk, Chita, Yakutsk, Blagovyeshchensk, Vladivostok, and I 
Turkestan (of which the see is Vyerni) ; the following are I 
partially so : Yekaterinburg and Orenburg. They correspond I 
as a rule with the divisions into governments. They are 1 
divided into rural deaneries, which consist each of from 10 to 1 
30 parishes, many of which, especially in Siberia, are very! 
extensive and have scattered populations of several thousands. 
The parish church is usually under a prikhod (corporation) 
consisting of priest, deacon, two diechoks (bell-ringer and 1 
reader), and a widow who prepares the sacramental bread. 
A parochial council determines the sum due from each house- 
holder for the upkeep of the Church. The number of parishes 
in Siberia is being increased ; arrangements were made for 
101 new parishes to be supplied with priests in 1911. 

Distinguishing Features of the Orthodox Religion 

A few distinguishing points in the orthodox church may 
be noted. The Council of Nicaea in 787 is the last ecumenical 
council that they recognize ; they do not admit the papal 
supremacy; they have the Scriptures in the vernacular, 
though it is not modern Russian, but old Slavonic, that is the 
language of religion and religious services, apart from the 
sermons, which are in Russian (the Slavonic language is 
taught in schools) ; they do not believe in the procession of 
the Holy Ghost from the Son as well as the Father, and omit 
the filioque clause from the Nicene Creed. 

Most Russian churches are rectangular buildings with five 
domes, the largest being in the middle. The principal 
entrance is at the west, where there is usually a detached 
campanile. The church is divided by an ambo (or ikonostas) 
into nave and sanctuary. In the former stand the worshippers, 
there being no seats or benches. On the ikonostas are sacred 
pictures or ikons, in front of which lamps are burning. Pictures 


are allowed, and even bas-relief, but statues are forbidden. 
Opposite the central door through the ikonostas, which can 
be used by the priest alone, is the altar (prestol), on which is 
laid a New Testament and the host. It is forbidden to pass 
in front of the altar. During the services no instrumental 
music is allowed, but the beautiful hymns of the Eastern 
Church are usually sung in three parts by men and boys. 
The congregation constantly join in the appeal Gospodi 
Pomilui (Lord have mercy upon us). The communion is 
administered in both kinds to the laity, but the bread and 
wine are mixed together in a spoon. Children are given water 
and wine alone till they are seven and can go to confession. 
Mass is only celebrated once a day. Attendance at least once 
a year is enforced by law. Baptism is by immersion and 
anointing with chrism immediately after takes the place of 
confirmation. There are many fasts besides the regular fasts 
of Wednesdays and Fridays throughout the year. The chief 
ones are (1) Lent, (2) St. Peter's fast, from Whit-Monday to 
June 29, (3) the fast of the Virgin Mary, from August 1 to 
August 15, (4) St. Philip's fast, from November 15 to December 
26. Besides this the monastic clergy always fast from meat. 
Festivals have a demoralizing effect ; much of the vodka- 
drinking is especially connected with them ; till 1907 it was 
a crime punishable by law to work on a holiday. 

Raskolniki (Dissenters) 

The differences between Popovists and Bezpopovists. have 
been described under the account of colonization (see p. 190). 
The former made advances towards reconciliation in 1862, 
on the basis of accepting orthodox priests, but retaining the 
unre vised books. This led to further division. There were 
now (1) those who recognized the metropolitan and this com- 
promise, (2) those who recognized the first but not the second, 
(3) those who recognized neither. There are some offshoots 
of the Bezpopovists : (1) the Philippovsti, followers of one 
Philip who burnt himself in 1743 : these exalt self-immolation 
into a principle ; (2) the Stranniki (pilgrims) ; (3) the Byeguni 


(runners) : both these reject legal marriage ; (4) the Nyetovsti 
(deniers) deny the necessity for common worship ; (5) the 
Molchalyniki (mutes) will not utter a syllable under torture. 
Besides these there are (1) the Khlusti (flagellants), who subdue 
the flesh, but indulge in ecstatic forms of worship : they are' 
a secret society and are nominally members of the Orthodox 
Church. They were founded in 1645. (2) The Doukhobors, 
* spiritual fighters,' who hold conscientious objections against 
military service, and were therefore made to live in Trans- 
Caucasia. When service became compulsory there they wvnt 
to a home found for them by the Society of Friends in Canada, 
where they have lived honest and industrious lives. (3) The 
Molokani (milk-drinkers), founded in 1765. The name is 
given them because they drink milk during fasts, but their 
tenets resemble those of the Quakers. (4) The Skoptsi 
(eunuchs), who advocate castration for the ' kingdom of 
Heaven's sake '. The more moderate of them allow absolute 
chastity to take the place of self -mutilation. These last two 
sects are the most prominent in Siberia, the former being 
found along the Amur, the latter in the Yakutsk Province. 

Other forms of belief 

Of other creeds there are in all Russia about 12,000,000 
Roman Catholics and 7,000,000 Protestants (including 
Finland), 5,000,000 Jews, 14,000,000 Mohammedans, and 
500,000 Buddhists. There are Lutheran and Roman Catholic 
churches in Omsk, Tomsk, Krasnoyarsk, and Irkutsk. Jews 
are found in great numbers at Kainsk, Buddhists among the 
Buryats in Transbaikal, and Mohammedans not only among 
the Tartar tribes, but also to a considerable extent among the 
Cossacks in the neighbourhood of Petropavlovsk. 


From end to end of Siberia, despite the ban of the Russian 
authorities, the primitive religion of northern Asia survives 
and exercises the strongest influence upon the inhabitants. 
Converts to Christianity and Buddhism still resort to it, and 


It even affects Russian officials and peasants who come to 
the country, and has among its adherents many of the half- 
breeds who have grown up in the land. It has the character 
of a primitive religion, and is probably much older than 
Buddhism. It may have been the earlier religion of the 
Mongolian people, south of Siberia. It has more magic than 
theology about it, and its doctrinal core is not very great ; 
it is in its forms and outward manifestations that it is really 
important. It is always difficult to acquire exact information 
from the Shamans themselves, who are in fear of the Russian 
authorities ; and the ritual of Shamanism attaches itself 
readily to the different racial religions and mythologies. 

Religious doctrines of Shamanism. — It is therefore extremely 
hazardous to venture on a general description of the religious 
beliefs that underlie Shamanistic forms, but perhaps it may 
|i be summarized as follows. The universe consists of a number 
of layers or strata, separated by a kind of intermediate space 
or matter ; there are seven upper layers, which constitute 
the kingdom of light, while below the earth are seven or more 
nether layers, which form the kingdom of darkness. Between 
these lies the earth, subject to influences from above and 
below : above are the good spirits {aiy), below are the evil 
spirits (abassy). In the seventh layer above, in high heaven, 
reigns Ai Toion, perfect and good ; in the fifth (or the ninth) 
below is Erlik Khan, the Ahriman of this dualistic system. 
Shamans alone possess power over this spiritual world, and 
this power is exercised more over the bad than the good, not 
necessarily for evil ends, but because the good spirits need less 
propitiation and are naturally inclined not to do mischief. 
In accordance with the nature of the spirits over whom 
they exercise influence Shamans are known respectively as 
white and black. In fact the whole faith has been known as 
' black faith ' in opposition to ' yellow faith', i.e. Buddhism. 
These spirits are largely the spirits of ancestors, and so 
Shamanism is closely associated with what constitutes so 
large a proportion of primitive cults, viz., ancestor-worship. 
Shamans among the Yakuts (the tribe among whom this cult 


is most fully developed) have three spirits, amcigyat, which is 
indispensable (the same name is applied to the iron breast- 
circle of the Shaman, which he wears as a symbol of his office), 
yekyua, which is hidden away but incarnates itself at times 
in animals, and kaliany, impish and mischievous, a sort of 
secondary personality. 

Derivation of name. — The word shaman is uncertain in 
derivation. There is a Sanskrit word iramana ( = religious 
mendicant), the Pali form of which, sramana, has the same 
meaning. On the other hand there is a Manchu word 
saman which means ' one who is excited ' and this word is 
found among the Tungus. 

Differences between Palaeo- Siberian and Neo- Siberian 
Shamanism. — There is a considerable difference between 
Shamanism as practised among the Palaeo-Siberian tribes 
(Chukchee, Koryaks, &c.) and among the Neo-Siberians 
(Yakuts, Tungus, &c), though the influence of the Tungus, 
widely spread among other tribes, has greatly modified the 
Shamanism of north-eastern Siberia. With the Palaeo- 
Siberians ' family ' shamanism is more frequent than ' pro- 
fessional'. The head of the house will shamanize, and in the 
absence of the father (e. g. among the Chukchee) the mother 
will take his place as family shaman. There is also found 
a kind of communal shamanism. Among them also women 
are more important than men as shamans ; women being of 
a more nervous and excitable temperament are more natural 
recipients of the shamanistic gifts ; it may be noted that 
women are the most frequent victims of Arctic hysteria 
(menerik). On the other hand the Yakuts assign an inferior 
position to women, and will only resort to them as shamans 
in the absence of men. Further, among certain Palaeo- 
Siberians (Koryak, Kamchadal, Chukchee, and Asiatic 
Eskimo) appears that extraordinary phenomenon, the sup- 
posed change of sex, by which men come to behave as wo: 
and women as men. The change goes through various stag 
the person who undergoes the transformation will first ma: 
fest the change by arranging his hair as a female ; then he 



will adopt woman's dress ; then he will change his voice 
and his general habits, performing the occupations of a woman 
in the house ; finally he will seek a ' husband ' and live with 
him in homo -sexual relations, while at the same time often 
having a female concubine and begetting children. Public 
opinion disapproves of this homo -sexuality, but is discreet 
in its utterances on the subject, as such transformed shamans 
are held to be particularly dangerous. The ' soft-man ' has 
his kele (spirit) husband, who will protect him : in fact even 
without sex -transformation a shaman often has a kele wife, 
as well as his own. The ' husband ' chosen by the shaman 
is usually selected from among his near relations. Women 
are transformed to men in the same way, with the correspond- 
ing change of dress, voice, and occupation, and the adoption 
of a ' wife '. The Koekchuks of the Kamchadals have been 
especially described in their place. Another distinction 
between the Palaeo- and the Neo-Siberians is that among the 
latter the dualism of good and evil spirits with their attendant 
black and white shamans is much more emphasized. The 
' white ' shamans take part in spring festivals, marriage 
ceremonies, fertilization rites, and the curing of diseases 
among the Yakuts : the ' black ' shamans deal with evil spirits, 
but are not necessarily malefic : they shamanize to assert 
their prestige ; they foretell the future ; they call up spirits 
and wander into spirit-land. The Buryats speak of great 
' contests ' between black and white shamans, who ' hurl axes 
at one another at a distance of hundreds of miles ' . The black 
shaman is not a popular person, and is sometimes killed by 
the inhabitants. The grave of a black shaman among them 
is guarded by an aspen, and the body is fastened to the earth 
by a stake taken from this tree. Among the Samoyedes 
there is no distinction between black and white shamans. 
It will be seen later that there are marked differences in the 
actual performances of the Palaeo- and Neo-Siberians. 

The 'call'. — Shamanism is sometimes hereditary. This is 
what would be expected both from the recurrence of medium - 
istic gifts in families and from the greater ease of keeping 


secrets known to members of the family alone. A shaman 
is often subject to hysteria, but can control himself between 
the fits. Before entering on his vocation a shaman has often 
had severe nervous affections. The ' call ' comes in various 
ways. We hear of a Gilyak boy of twelve, who had his call 
during a deep sleep, and when awakened threw himself about 
and spoke with different intonations. To the Tungus a former 
shaman appears in a dream. An Ostyak will sell to another 
the spiritual gifts that have come to him. Among tribes in 
the Altai the call is involuntary. Among the Chukchee there 
is great fear of the ' call ' : the Chukchee youth is afraid 
that it will come to him ; when it has come, he segregates 
himself and is abstracted in manner, he sleeps much, and is 
carefully guarded lest he should freeze to death during sleep. 
The Buryat child is supposed to be called at a very tender 
age : its soul then, it is imagined, goes away to be trained 
among the ' West Tengeris ' if he is to be a white shaman, 
among the ' East Tengeris ' if he is to be a black shaman. 
When he reaches adolescence, certain symptoms begin to be 
revealed. Among the Samoyedes the novice, at about the 
age of 15, is entrusted to an old shaman. 

Novitiate and training. — A ' call ' to a shaman means that 
he has come under the protection of one or more spirits : 
his eyes have a distinctive appearance : the expression is 
said to be a combination of shyness and cunning, and it is 
alleged that the shaman can often be picked out from other 
men because he has this look. Long periods of preparation 
follow ; the training includes lessons in singing, dancing, 
drum-beating, ventriloquism, and other tricks, and the power 
of concealing fatigue ; and stages of consecration, which 
differ among the various tribes. The novice is conscious 
of the solemnity of his profession, and usually has a strong 
feeling that he has to consecrate his gifts for the good of his 
fellow men : he is told not to demand high prices from either 
rich or poor, and, if he is asked to attend to a rich and a poor 
man, to attend to the latter first. Considerable danger is 
felt to be attached to the profession, as ' the spirits will kill 


a shaman who in any way disobeys them ' ; but there are 
compensations, for he is usually safer than anybody else from 
the anger of his fellow men, on account of the sacrosanct 
character of his calling. But no persecution will make him 
give up his shamanism : a shaman, whom Stadling met, who 
a Christian nominally, used to confess once a year to the 
3st (and present him with a blue fox skin). It is worthy of 
tote that the tribe which has probably developed shamanism 
more than any other is the Yakuts, who have been nominalty 
Christians for upwards of 200 years. 

Classes of Shaman. — Shamans are of various kinds. Among 
the Chukchee there are three kinds of professional shamans : 
the first practise ecstatic ravings, the second foretell the 
future as prophets, the third utter incantations ; these last 
again are subdivided into good and bad, and are distinguished 
by their red and black coats respectively. With the Yakuts 
they are divided into Great, Middle and Little Shamans in 
accordance with the degree of their powers ; the first has his 
dmdgyat from Ai Toion himself ; the second has dmdgyat, 
but it is not of so powerful a kind ; the third has nothing 
that deserves the name of dmdgyat, but is only an abnormal 
neurotic person, ' who can cure trifling illnesses, interpret 
dreams, or frighten small devils away '. Originally among the 
Yakuts there was more of woman-shamanism, as among the 
Palaeo-Siberian tribes. The Altaians, besides the shaman 
(kam), have other personages of a similar kind. These are 

(1) rynchi, who foretell the future during attacks of pain ; 

(2) telegochi (guessers) ; (3) yarinchi, who divine by the use of 
a bladebone ; (4) kollkarechi, palmists, who divine from the 
hand, (5) yadachi who control the weather by means of a stone 
(yadatash) found in a defile, where winds blow continually : 
to obtain this stone they must swear away all that they have . 

Professional dress and equipment. — The shaman has a pro- 
fessional dress when engaged on his occupation. Among the 
Neo-Siberians the four most general features are the coat, 
the mask, the cap, and the iron plate about the breast. The 
costume is less complicated among the Palaeo -Siberians, 


The Chukchee for instance have no special dress : they 
merely desire originality, and will wear any coat that they 
think will impress. Sometimes the Chukchee have adopted 
Tungus designs on the coat without knowing their meaning. 
The coat is most elaborate among the Neo-Siberians. Attached 
to it are pieces of metal each with a name and meaning of its 
own. Among the Altaians not all shamans are entitled to 
wear the coat and the cap. The mask is of skin, wood, and 
metal, painted and ornamented with a great beard. The iron 
plate {amagyat) is handed down from shaman to shaman. 
The pieces of metal are supposed to have a soul and to be 
capable of resisting rust. Among the Yakuts there are here- 
ditary blacksmiths who are associated with the shamans, and 
manufacture their properties. The most characteristic em- 
blem of shamanism is the drum. A special meaning is attached 
to it by the Yukaghir : they call it yalkil (gulf), as the gulf 
into which the shaman dives to reach the spirits. So too the 
Eskimo think that the souls of the shamans descend into the 
lower world of the goddess Sedna. Some of the north-eastern 
tribes (e.g. Koryaks) strike the drum from below. The word 
for ' drum ' is everywhere the same (tungur), whereas the 
coat has various names, which suggests that it is later. The 
drum is rare among the Buryats, who have one special 
accessory, viz., the horse -staves : of these two are of wood, 
two of iron, but the latter are only bestowed on a shaman 
after his fifth consecration. The wooden ones are cut for 
the novice. These horse-staves represent the horses on 
which the shaman takes his flight to the upper and lower 
worlds. There is also a shire, a box which contains the 
sacred emblems (horse -staves, &c), which the shaman ac- 
quires the right of holding after his fifth consecration. Th< 
sun, moon, and secondary deities are represented on i 
The Buryats also have a musical instrument used only b 
shamans, a sort of Jew's harp called homus. 

Shamanistic rites. — The nature of the shamanistic per 
formances can be best realized by describing two : the first 
is as it would be 'given among the Chukchee, the second as 


among the Yakuts. The first is given when it is almost 
dark : the shaman begins to beat the drum softly and to sing 
plaintively : the song imitates the cries of animals, which 
seem to proceed from various corners of the house. Then 
suddenly the song ceases : when it is over, the shaman is 

Iound lying exhausted. Sometimes the shaman uses a 
ueratic language, a mixture of Yakut, Yukaghir, and Koryak 
yords : shamans cannot remember what they recite in their 
emi-hypnotic state, and genuinely do not understand the 
language they use. A variety of conjuring tricks are per- 

Among the Yakuts the performance appeals to rather 
higher emotions. The shaman kneels on a white mare's skin, 
bows to the four corners of the earth, and sprinkles the ground 
with water from his mouth. After other rites, the shaman 
begins to play his drum, and utters wild cries imitating 
animals. Then he chants an incantation, the spirits come, 
the shaman falls, leaps, and dances ; members of his ' con- 
gregation ' hold him by leather thongs, lest the spirits should 
make away with him. In the south Yakut district he is un- 
fettered. After these movements he approaches his patient, 
drives away the cause of the illness, and prescribes what 
sacrifices must be made to the powerful spirits whose servant 
he has banished. His prophetic gifts do not leave him at 
once, but he foretells future events. He goes a mystic and 
symbolic journey through the strata of the universe announcing 
the various points in his travel that he has reached. 

Despite the trickery there is evidence of considerable 
mediumistic powers ; there is use of auto-suggestion in the 
trances and probably a skilful handling of hypnosis. 

One of the earliest accounts of shamanism was published 
in China in 1747, written in the Manchu language. For the 
subject generally, see M. A. Czaplicka, Aboriginal Siberia, from 
which the above examples are taken. 

P 2 


Climatic complaints — Zymotic diseases — Nervous diseases — Want 
of sanitation 

Climatic Complaints 

There is no reason for regarding the climate of Siberia, 
despite its rigours, as unhealthy, unless the nervous com- 
plaints mentioned later have any connexion with the winter 
darkness and cold. Settlers in Siberia, including exiles, suffer 
no ill effects from the climate, whether in the far north or in 
the agricultural regions of the south. The great cold of winter, 
it is true, is liable to cause frost-bite, but with adequate shelter 
and sufficient nourishment, the risk of this proving serious is 
small since strong winds are rare in winter, and in their absence 
great cold is quite endurable with safety. Snow-blindness is 
not uncommon in spring and autumn, but the lack of winter 
snow in many parts, the darkness of the northern winter, and 
the general prevalence of green trees to relieve the eyes 
minimize the occurrence of this trouble. 

Zymotic Diseases 

Apart from climatic influences, however, there is much 
disease among most native tribes in Siberia. Measles is 
common, especially among the Koryaks and Yukaghir, and 
has devastated whole villages. Smallpox is endemic in many 
parts : it is said to have caused a steady reduction in the 
numbers of the Yukaghir and Tungus. Tuberculous disease 
is prevalent, though seldom diagnosed on account of the 
absence of medical officers in most parts : it was very probably 
introduced by Russians. Siberian boil plague, a form of 
anthrax which also attacks cattle, is found from the Urals to 


the Chinese frontier, especially in summer. It occurs in both 
external and internal forms. The latter is generally fatal hi 
one to four days. Goitre is reported principally from the 
Lena valley, where it is most prevalent among women, and 
from the Amur region. Syphilis is rampant throughout 
Siberia. Ophthalmia and other diseases of the eye are very 
common : some are due to snow-blindness, as noted above, 
others to venereal disease, and others to the smoky nature of 
the interior of all native huts. Leprosy occurs in the Lena, 
Kolima, and Amur regions, Sakhalin, and elsewhere. It is 
generally associated by the Gilyaks with eating fish, especially 
one species of salmon. Cholera is never absent from the Amur 
and Maritime Provinces, and every few years assumes the 
proportions of an epidemic. In 1910 a violent epidemic of 
cholera raged in Vladivostok, Khabarovsk, Blagovyesch- 
chensk, and Nikolaevsk : most of the victims were Chinese 
and Koreans. In the same year an epidemic of plague intro- 
duced from Manchuria into the Amur region was successfully 
fought by the use of injections. The last epidemic of typhoid 
in the same region was in 1908. Thus the Amur and Maritime 
Provinces seem to be the least healthy parts of Siberia owing 
to their proximity to any diseases rampant in China, Korea, 
and Japan. 

Nervous Diseases 

Certain peculiar forms of nervous affection are common 
among the natives of Siberia, and are known collectively under 
the name of Arctic hysteria, because, as far as Siberia is con- 
cerned, they are confined to the polar and subpolar regions. 
They are, however, closely akin to nervous affections of the 
natives of Java, Abyssinia, South Africa, Madagascar, Brazil, 
Peru, and elsewhere, and particularly the Malays, and so, 
properly speaking, are not peculiar to Arctic lands, although 
they are probably accentuated by the darkness, and are 
certainly most prevalent during winter. Hardships increase 
the occurrence of hysteria : in times of famine whole villages 
may suffer from it, It is noticeable also that sedentary people 


suffer far more than nomadic people, who are better inured to 

Arctic hysteria is most prevalent among Neo-Siberians,"but 
is found also in certain forms among Palaeo-Siberians. Euro- 
pean exiles from Russia to Arctic Siberia seldom suffer from it. 

Many forms of nervous disease are included under this 
head, quite apart from the hysterical manifestations of the 
shamans, which are looked upon by the natives as an in- 
spiration, but are not impossibly connected in origin with 
Arctic hysteria (see Chapter VII). A common form is ex- 
pressed in timidity and fright, with an inclination to repeat all 
visual and auditory impressions. Another type is brought on 
by sudden shock or pain, but it is sometimes periodic and 
recurs without apparent direct cause. The patient is afflicted 
with spasms or falls into a trance, howls or dances, and the fits 
are often followed by extreme exhaustion or prolonged sleep for 
several days. In some symptoms this form closely resembles 
epilepsy. It is sometimes accompanied by manifestations 
of erotic mania, and by Yakuts, Yukaghir, and others is 
ascribed to the influence of evil spirits, but looked upon as 
a disease. All these forms seem to be commonest among 
people who have recently moved into Arctic regions. Melan- 
cholia and so-called voluntary death are other forms of 
hysteria. Melancholia occurs chiefly among people domiciled 
in Arctic Siberia, and is not uncommon among the inhabitants 
of other far northern lands. Voluntary death is also common 
among the tribes of northern Siberia. Old or infirm people 
request their relatives to put them to death : this, however, 
may be the outcome of a desire to escape suffering, and it is 
doubtful if it can be looked on as a form of hysteria. 

Want of Sanitation 

The difficulties of combating disease throughout Siberia are 
very great. Most of the natives are dirty and devoid of the 
most primitive ideas on sanitation. Owing to the vastness of 
the land over which they roam, no adequate medical super- 
vision is possible. At the same time it must be remembered 


that the state of health of the majority of the tribes in Siberia 
has little influence on the Russian settlers who, by the nature 
of the land, are more or less confined to certain regions, where 
measures of preventive medicine, even if difficult, are not 
impossible. The state of the Siberian towns (see p. 313) leaves 
much room for improvement in matters of sanitation and 


Western Siberia — Eastern Siberia 

Western Siberia 

The peasant population of western Siberia constitutes about 
ninety per cent, of the whole, and it is nearly all engaged, 
directly or indirectly, in agriculture. The agricultural dis- 
tricts of western Siberia are the Government of Tobolsk, 
excluding the districts of Berezov and Surgut, and the 
Government of Tomsk, excluding the district of Narim, but in 
the steppes agriculture is only practised successfully in parts 
of the districts of Kokchetav, Atbasar, and Petropavlovsk in 
the Akmolinsk territory, and in the Semipalatinsk, Pavlodar 
and Zaisan districts of the Semipalatinsk territory. In 1911 
over 10,800,000 acres were sown in Tobolsk and Tomsk, 
i. e. 36 per cent, of the whole sown area of Asiatic Russia. 
In the steppes over 5,400,000 acres were sown. 

Cereals, root crops, and fodder 

Three zones of agricultural land. — (1) North of lat. 58° N. 
there is a region in which agriculture is only sporadic. It 
consists largely of urmans (swamps), which are quite un- 
suited to tillage ; the arable lands are either the more elevated 
parts of the river valleys, which are not submerged, the uvals 
(inclined banks), or level ground surrounded by yars (abrupt 
precipices). North of lat. 60° N. hardly any cereals are 
grown ; corn is planted as far north as Berezov (about lat. 
64° N.), but is of no economic importance in those parts. 

(2) Between lat. 56° N. and lat. 58° N. the region is an 
almost perfectly flat plain, with deciduous trees predominating 


over conifers. Swamps, though extensive, occupy less of the 
total area : there are plateaux as well as river valleys used 
for agriculture. Lands suitable for cereals are often spread 
over great tracts. The river valleys are hardly ploughed at 
all (except for the uvals), as being too liable to inun- 

(3) South of lat. 56° N. the region is variegated with many 
small lakes divided by ridges with sloping sides. There are 
islands of fertility with flat spaces between that are entirely 
barren. The wild cherry, growing on unploughed soil is a sign 
of its fertility. It grows on the west Ishim steppe, but not 
on the east Ishim and Baraba steppes. Much of this region 
is particularly adapted for wheat. The west Ishim steppe is 
the most fertile region ; the Baraba and east Ishim steppes 
closely resemble one another. The Baraba steppe has great 
variations in itself ; it is least fertile in *he north, where it 
becomes swamp, most fertile in the south, where it reaches to 
the foothills of the Altai. In the Kirghiz steppes few cereals 
are grown, as the Kirghiz eat little bread of any sort, but 
a great deal of meat. 

Soils. — In the river valleys there prevail very sticky clayey 
soils, partly grey, slightly tinged with humus, partly black. 
There are two kinds of black soil : (1) argillaceous chernozem 
or black soil, on the raised ground, the most fertile of all the 
soils, (2) a black earth which is poor and barren and of 
a peaty character, only adapted for oats. In the middle 
region especially there are what is called byeliks, where a very 
thin layer of turf (2 or 3 inches thick) lies over a stratum of 
almost unproductive light-grey clayey soil (9 or 10 inches 
thick), superimposed on a reddish-yellow clay. These are 
only of use with manure, and have to lie fallow for twenty-five 
years after three or four crops, as only the top layer nourishes 
cereals. In the south region the predominating soil is a dark 
brown, friable, clayey soil, with a large admixture of white 
sand upon a reddish clay subsoil. In the Baraba steppe 
upon the broad sloping ridges black soil is everywhere, and 
on the narrow and more abrupt ridges a clayey soil. The soil 


along the railway has a loamy substratum with a surface of 
black earth (14 to 24 ins.) which is entirely stoneless. 

Crops vary in accordance with varieties of soil. Wheat 
grows best in south-west Tobolsk, the Kainsk and Mariinsk 
districts of Tomsk, the Altai and parts of Akmolinsk territory 
where there is a sandy black soil ; in all these parts it is 
more than half the grain sown ; barley and spring rye are 
adapted to the brownish soils of the central part of Tomsk, 
where the soil is infertile ; east from Tomsk grows winter 
rye, and oats are commonest along the great Siberian road. 
In the northern districts winter corn occupies the chief place. 
In all Asiatic Russia spring corn considerably predominates 
over winter corn. 

Methods of cultivation. — In the agricultural parts of Siberia 
it is usual to sow the land for two or three years, and then 
for a year to leave it fallow ; after this to sow it again for 
one or two years, and to repeat the process till it shows that 
it needs a rest. Then, when certain signs known to the 
peasants present themselves, it is reploughed. During the 
early part of the period the more exhausting grains are sown, 
such as wheat and rye ; towards the end of the period, barley 
and oats. In the region of Lake Zaisan there is intensive 
culture by irrigation There are irrigating canals (arylcs) from 
which little runlets are taken all over the fields. The water 
is let on first before ploughing, and then, according to the 
weather, from two to four times more, while the plant is 
growing. After eight crops the field requires either three 
years' rest or manuring. It is always the same crop, because 
during the harvesting the old seed would drop into the soil 
and spoil next year's crop. 

Agricultural improvements. — Many improvements have been 
made in the system of agriculture in western Siberia. Ferti- 
lizers are employed to a greater extent, and there are many 
mechanical appliances introduced. A large amount of agri- 
cultural machinery is imported to meet a growing demand. 
Large wholesale purchases are made, especially of reapers, 
mowers, and rakes. The United States, with a widespread 


organization in the villages, have an almost complete mono- 
poly, except for ploughs, which have hitherto been usually of 
German make. Chelyabinsk, Novo-Nikolaevsk, and Omsk are 
the chief centres of distribution, and there are others at 
Kurgan, Petropavlovsk, Pavlodar, Semipalatinsk, Tatarskaya, 
Karachi, Kamen, Barnaul, and Biisk. At a station on the 
River Irtish, near Omsk and also at Novo-Nikolaevsk, ex- 
perimental work is being carried on ; arrangements are made 
under the Colonization Department for testing kinds of ma- 
chinery and implements introduced into Siberia. Specimens 
of suitable machines are on view for farmers who visit the 
place. The value of sales was in 1910 £497,000 ; in 1911 
£680,000 ; in 1912 £840,000 ; in 1913 £730,000. The pur- 
chaser usually makes the first half of his payment during the 
first year and the rest in instalments. Bad debts are rare. 
There are many agricultural depots scattered through the 
country, organized by the Government ; but the private store 
has some advantages in the peasant's eyes over the Govern- 
ment depot ; he has it more at his mercy, for it gives him long 
credit, and he can keep it waiting for his money, whereas he 
is at the mercy of the Government depot himself. All agri- 
cultural implements enter the country free of tax. 

Grain elevators are being erected at the cost of the Treasury, 
but in order to secure them more speedily the Siberian co- 
operative societies are undertaking the construction of ele- 
vators at their own expense. At Aleksyeevsk in Omsk district 
an elevator of 1,600 tons capacity has been completed ; it is 
provided with all the necessary grain-drying and cleaning 
appliances. This is the case, too, with the station at Mishkina. 
Eight credit societies are erecting an elevator of 6,025 tons 
capacity at the station of Kochenevo. At Omsk and at Kula- 
chinskoe in the Omsk district grain stores are to be built. A large 
elevator of 16,070 tons capacity is projected for Novo-Niko- 

Agriculture has been stimulated along the line of the great 
Siberian road owing to the fact that this was formerly the 
one artery of commerce, and a large population was wanted 


for the work of transport and innkeeping. But the road 
has formidable competitors in the steamers upon the rivers 
and in the Siberian Railway ; its monopoly has gone, and 
a large proportion of the population has taken to agriculture. 

Milling. — Most of the cereal products are exported from; 
Russia in the form of grain, and so milling has suffered. But 1 
the Tomsk Government contains a fair proportion of mills, 
among which wheat mills predominate with a return of 
£600,000. Flour mills are found principally in the districts 
of Tomsk, Biisk, and Barnaul, and in the neighbourhood of 
Novo-Nikolaevsk. The mills are well set up. 

Export of cereals. — Siberia supplies the deficiencies of 
European Russia in bad seasons, so as to enable the Russians 
to export the reserves which would otherwise be retained for 
home consumption. Much goes to the non-agricultural parts 
of Siberia, especially the mines. Some was formerly used for 
vodka and other spirits. But the export of Siberian cereals 
is not great in proportion to the output of the country, and in 
comparison with that of European Russia it seems negligible. 
The cost of transport is very heavy. A German authority 
states that the cost of transport of a ton of wheat from Chelya- 
binsk to the mouth of the Rhine amounts to £2 16s., while the 
carriage of the same quantity from India costs only 12s. 
There is still a large amount of land of great agricultural 
value unsown, and there are considerable openings for trade, 
especially if a serious effort is made to replace the German 
trade in ploughs. 

Hay. — In 1914 in western Siberia 12,892,918 acres were 
under hay, with an output of 7,358,100 tons ; in the steppes 
there were 9,271,773 acres, with an output of 3,546,500 tons. 
Hay-cutting is done near the big towns and along the post 

Potatoes. — Potatoes are grown further north than the limit 
within which cereals are profitable, e. g. at Samarovskoe, 
at the confluence of the Ob and Irtish. Other crops grown 
in the same region are rape and cucumber. 

Fruit is of little importance. Some cherries are grown at 


Kurgan ; in Tyumen there are a few small fruit gardens, and 
apples are grown at Tomsk, under the care of the University. 
Melons and water-melons are grown by the peasants for their 
own consumption. 

Blax and hemp. — Flax is grown almost universally ; hemp 
cially in the black earth districts. These are grown mainly 
for the seed, whence comes an edible oil, which is of great 
importance for Russians as a substitute for butter on fast 
days. The fibres serve especially local needs for ropes and 
linen. The flax is good, but weak : the peasants cannot 
handle it properly, and it has but small international value. 
In the Barnaul district the hemp is of low quality and badly 
worked up. It is estimated that this district might produce 
4,800 to 8,000 tons of hempseed and the same amount of 
Unseed. At Omsk there is a steam oil-seed and colour mill, 
which manufactures various oils from linseed, hemp, and 
sunflower seeds, to the extent (in 1901) of 645 tons, and colours 
to the extent of 81 tons. 

Sunflower. — From the seeds an oil is extracted and used 
for the same purposes as those from hempseed and linseed. 
It is grown especially in the Altai and at places along the Irtish. 
Tobacco. — Altogether in Siberia in 1914 there were 18,198 
plantations of tobacco, with an area of 1,984 acres. They 
yielded 4 tons of Turkish tobacco and 1,570 tons of lower 
quality. The chief tobacco-growing districts of Siberia are 
along the Irtish, south of Omsk, in the Cossack settlements, 
where about 160 tons are produced a year. The plantations 
are all small, and most of the work is done by women. About 
30 per cent, is consumed locally ; the rest goes to the neigh- 
bouring fairs and to Omsk, where there is a tobacco factory, 
doing very good business, chiefly in cigarettes (£40,000 in 
1903). The common Russian tobacco is mahorka, which 
is grown in Omsk and Petropavlovsk districts, and is chiefly 
used in the manufacture of cheap cigars. The peasant is 
showing a tendency to abandon mahorka in favour of cheap 
cigarettes. The import of tobacco goods by rail is increasing. 


Woodland produce 

Cedar cones. — The Finns cembra produces a cone which is 
much esteemed for the oil extracted from its seeds. It is 
found especially in the Narim district, the northern parts of 
Tomsk and Mariinsk districts, and the mountainous parts of 
Biisk and Kuznetsk districts. The chief market is Tomsk. 
In a good year, which is once in four or five, 4,800 to 6,400 
tons are gathered, the season being from the middle of August 
to the middle of September. The price is from 35. to 5s. per 
pud ; the average turnover of a labourer is from about 12s. 
to £1 18s. In order to obtain the cone the trees are cut down 
if they are difficult to climb. 

Wild fruit. — Great masses of bilberries and cranberries are 
exported from Turinsk, Tar a, and Tobolsk districts. Rock- 
cherry, obtained in Tomsk district, is dried and ground to 
flour, and on fast days is boiled with honey and water and 
eaten as a kind of jam. The nut trade is especially developed 
in the Surgut, Tara, and Tobolsk districts of Tobolsk and the 
Narim and Mariinsk districts of Tomsk. In the Kuznetsk and 
Biisk districts the nomads do the nutting. 

Mushrooms are put on the market, dried and salted. 

Easteen Siberia 
Cereals, root crops, and fodder 

In spite of the climate agriculture is making rapid progress 
in eastern Siberia, especially since the Government began to 
encourage the transfer of the land from the community to 
the peasants. The settlers generally seem to make a decent 
living and to improve in appearance. When the first difficulties 
have been overcome, they are better off than they were in 
Russia. The land which is most accessible and most favourably 
situated for agriculture has already been occupied. New 
immigrants can no longer hope for natural grass-land, but 
once the taiga has been cleared, the soil is generally good. 

Manure is only beginning to be used in some parts of 


Transbaikal. The ramparts of it that often stand round 
Siberian towns and villages are left undisturbed. When the 
old land is exhausted, the peasant ploughs up a new plot. But 
now that he usually owns his land, he may be willing to make 
improvements, and adopt a less wasteful system of agriculture. 
A system of rotation of crops is generally followed ; it varies 
in different districts. 

Eastern Siberia is by no means self-supporting in agri- 
cultural produce. Some 200,000 tons of wheat enter the 
Transbaikal, Amur, and Primorsk Provinces annually from 
Manchuria alone, while Irkutsk, Yeniseisk, and Yakutsk re- 
ceive large supplies from western Siberia. 

The chief peculiarity of agriculture in these provinces is 
the great preponderance of spring over winter grain. Even 
in the Transbaikal, Amur, and Maritime Provinces spring 
grain is less than 1 per cent, of the total. The long winter 
and slight snowfall make it almost impossible for winter grain 
to ripen. 

Yeniseisk and Irkutsk. — Though cattle -raising is the chief 
occupation, agriculture is steadily extending. Spring crops 
predominate, but winter corn is sown on 28 per cent, of the 
cultivated land. In Irkutsk especially rye is the chief crop, 
then oats and wheat. Buckwheat, millet, potatoes, lentils, 
flax, and hemp are grown. In Achinsk rye and winter wheat 
do well because of the early winter and deep snow. In the 
Minusinsk district there is an area of dry steppe, surrounded 
by rich black earth, where a considerable agricultural popu- 
lation prospers. The warm dry summer enables spring wheat 
to ripen here before the autumn frosts. Beetroots and water- 
melons do well near Minusinsk. Hay is good and plentiful 
throughout these provinces. 

The Minusinsk region alone has a trade in flour with 
Krasnoyarsk and the lower Yenisei. Some 4,000 tons are 
produced by about six steam or water mills, none of which 
has a capacity of more than 1,600 tons. There is a small 
steam-mill at Krasnoyarsk, one of 1,600 tons capacity at 
Cheremkhovskoe, and a couple of good-sized mills in Irkutsk 


and the neighbourhood. There are also some 20 water-mi 
for local use along the Yenisei. 

The soil round Minusinsk is particularly favourable to beets, 
and a beet-sugar manufactory has been established there. 

The Provinces east of Lake Baikal. — The territory east of 
Lake Baikal still needs large quantities of imported corn. 
Some 200,000 tons of wheat enter the Maritime, Amur, an( 
Transbaikal Provinces every year from Manchuria for the use 
of the people and the troops. The Government is always the 
largest buyer. It is estimated that the Priamur alone could 
produce at least 600,000 tons more grain than it does at 
present. The Government proposes to put a duty on Man- 
churian corn, in order to encourage local agriculture, and 
lower the freights on grain and flour from western Siberia 
But it is held in Blagovyeshchensk, which is the agriculture 
capital of the Priamur, and the third in importance of the 
flour-milling towns of the Russian Empire, that, so far from 
excluding Manchurian wheat, this will only enable it to be 
sold at a higher price across the river. Indeed, the Russian 
mill-owners in Kharbin, who produce most of this imported 
flour, are in no way perturbed by the proposal. The campaign 
against Chinese labour has seriously raised the price of living, 
and the suggested duty will raise it still further. 

The Colonization Department also intends to build grain- 
elevators along the Amur railway. The Government has been 
advised to build elevators of a capacity of 9,000 tons and 
a flour-mill of 18 tons capacity per diem at Aleksyeevsk. 
Smaller elevators are to be established at Bochkarevo, Bureya, 
Malinovka, Tigda, Yekaterinoslavka, and Gondatti. The ex- 
tension of credit among the peasants is also to be encouraged. 
In spite of these suggestions and the advantages offered by 
the opening of the railway and other improvements in the 
means of communication, there is little prospect of these pro- 
vinces being able to produce their own food for a long time. 

Moreover, there is always the danger of over-production, 
with a consequent sharp fall in prices. Russia is one of the 
world's granaries, and it might not be easy to find a profitable 


market for surplus Siberian grain, owing to the inaccessibility 
of the country. Hence many authorities are of opinion that 
the future of the east Siberian peasant lies in stock-raising 
id daky -farming rather than in corn-growing. 

►ut the Governor-General of the Priamur hoped that the 

lilding of a good harbour at Nikolaevsk would ensure to the 

imers the prosperity which is threatened by the opening 

bhe Amur Railway, and also establish a large bean and grain 

lustry on the Sungari and the Amur between Blagovyesh- 

msk, Nikolaevsk, and Kharbin. 

\ansbaikal. — The Transbaikal is sparsely populated. 
Cattle-farming is much more developed than agriculture. But 
the quality of the land is excellent. Spring corn is the chief 
cereal, forming 50 per cent, of the total crop. Then come 
wheat (16 per cent.) and oats (15 per cent.). Barley, buck- 
wheat, and in places millet, flax, and hemp are also sown. 
But harvests are uncertain, and there are frequent local 
failures. Artificial irrigation is necessary in the principal 
agricultural districts, such as the Nerchinsk and Aksha, the 
natives using ditches for the purpose, but the irrigation 
should be systematized. In the Selenginsk district the sowing 
takes place early in May and the harvest in August, before the 
autumn frosts begin. 

Potatoes are grown everywhere for local use, but other 
vegetables only on a small scale. Considering the high prices 
realized, it is surprising that they are not more cultivated. 

Amur and Maritime Provinces. — Agriculture is at present 
the chief occupation in the Amur Province, but in the Maritime 
Province, in spite of the richness of the soil, the climate is not 
favourable to its development. There is little snow in winter. 
Hence the land freezes so deep that the subsoil remains frozen 
throughout the year. In summer the rainfall is heavy. 
Damp is the chief enemy. Clover and fodder-grass do not 
flourish, and there is much rot. Of some 567,000,000 acres 
only about 850,000 were sown in 1906. But the area under 
crops is steadily increasing, especially in the Ussuri region and 
on the Zeya-Bureya plain. 




Amur Province. — At the time of the first Russian invasion, 
the Daurians on the Amur were great agriculturists. The 
soil along the railway, which freezes to a depth of 200 or 
300 ft., consists of a sticky clay that only thaws for 3 ft. This 
is covered with coarse grass or scrubby vegetation. But the 
Zeya-Bureya plain is very fertile, and is now largely settled. 
Fields of corn extend as far as the eye can reach. Between 
1907-10 an average of 220,892 tons of cereals was produced, 
and the output should increase rapidly. 

The following are the statistics of the 1911 harvest : 




. 118,000 



Wheat . 

. 110,200 

Millet . 






Barley . 


Hemp and flax 


Buckwheat . 




Potatoes do well, averaging 12 cwt. to the acre. 

The Amur Province is the best market for agricultural 
machinery in eastern Siberia. 

In 1910 there were 43 steam mills, 111 water-mills, and 
60 windmills in the Amur Province. Blagovyeshchensk 
possessed 9 steam-mills. There were also 38 rice and groats 
mills in the Amur and Maritime Provinces. 

The following table shows the flour produced in 1911 by 
the Blagovyeshchensk mills. Of the 100,806 tons of grain 
used, 37,250 came from the Amur Province, and 63,556 from 
Manchuria. The 1,310 tons of rye were all grown in the 

Flour produced for : 





Blagovyeshchensk . 



Mining districts 




. 6,250 


Commissary Department 
Other markets 








In the same year Blagovyeshchensk imported from Man- 



churia 2,347 tons of wheat flour, and from Odessa and other 
places 305 tons. 

In the short summer, carrots, potatoes, tomatoes, cabbages, 
even water-melons, and of course beets, do well almost every- 
where on the newly-cleared land by the Amur Railway. The 
Chinese and Koreans grow most of the vegetables. Blago- 
vyeshchensk is entirely supplied by the Chinese across the 

er, with whom the Russians cannot compete. 

Maritime Province. — The mountainous character of the 

aritime Province as a whole is not favourable to agriculture. 
The fertile territory lies to the south, round Nikolsk-Ussuriski 
and Lake Khanka, and in the Ussuri valley. The winter is 
long, with little snow, while an annual precipitation of 
22 inches of rain falls between May and September. Fogs 
are common in the south, and many parts of the province 
suffer from floods. These are especially frequent on the Iman, 
while east of Lake Khanka in the Prikhankoisk region 
500,000 acres of arable land are made useless by inunda- 
tions in summer. It has been proposed that the district 
should be reclaimed by improving the outflow through the 
Sungacha. In 1910, 80,192 acres were damaged by frost, 
floods, insects, and other causes. The Russians had to learn 
from the Koreans how to protect their fields from floods and 
fogs. The Cossacks, who own large tracts of land, preferred 
to let it to these skilled farmers, whom the Government policy 
of Russifying the region is steadily driving out. It is impos- 
sible for a Russian peasant to compete with a Korean, 
not merely on account of the extraordinary skill of his 
intensive farming, but on account of his low standard of 

The average size of a holding in the Maritime Province is 
about 15 acres. Means of communication are very defective, 
but the Government is building new roads. Farmers are also 
encouraged to sow soya beans, flax, hemp, and beets, for which 
the country is better suited than for grains. Indeed, the 
beets are so good that there is talk of starting a beet-sugar 
factory in Vladivostok. An agricultural school, the first in 



the Far East, was to be established at Nikolsk-Ussuriski, the 
centre of the flourishing farming district in the south. 
The yield of the various crops in 1911 was as follows : 



Rye . 
Oats . 

. 2,197,249 

. 3,836,784 

Soya beans 
Flax and hemp . 


There are 115 steam-mills, 220 water-mills, and 139 wind- 
mills in the Maritime Province. 

Until some attempt at drainage is made, and the old coarse 
grass is removed, the hay in the Ussuri district will always be 
rank. It often smells so disagreeable that cattle refuse to 
eat it. 

Potatoes are a very important crop. Vegetables do well and 
sell well, but the Chinese and Koreans reap most of the profits. 

Considerable success has been obtained in fruit-growing, and 
attempts are being made to establish it on a business basis. 
At Barabash an apple is said to have been produced not 
inferior to the Calif ornian varieties. It is hoped that in time 
the large imports of fruit, especially from Japan, will become 
unnecessary. Grapes of a poor quality grow wild in the 
southern Ussuri district. The inhabitants make wine from 
them for local use. 

Sakhalin. Wheat, barley, oats, spring corn, and even winter 
rye are sown, mostly in small patches by ex-convicts. Three- 
to four-fold is a good harvest. Vegetables, notably potatoes 
and cabbages, do pretty well. The soil is good in places. 

Yakutsk and the North-east. — A recent commission has 
decided that agriculture could be advantageously carried on 
in the Yakutsk Province. Hitherto it has proved most suc- 
cessful in the Lena valley and on the Olekma and Aldan. 
The flourishing Skoptsi colonies near Olekminsk and Yakutsk 
grow wheat, summer rye, barley, and oats. These Skoptsi 
import modern agricultural machinery, and own two or 
three steam flour-mills. Most of the Yakuts grow wheat. In 
fact, grain already ripens at about lat. 64° N. Barley ripens in 


71 days, spring corn in 92, oats in 82, and wheat in 76 days. 
But the harvest is very moderate. 

Vegetable-growing in a small way is carried on as far north 
as the Kolima and the Verkhoyansk regions. Barley some- 
times ripens near Verkhoyansk. The Skoptsi of Markha, near 
Itkutsk, are remarkably successful with vegetables, especially 
tatoes and cabbages. But the natives of the tundra are 
d busy fishing in summer to waste their energies on occu- 
tions so unremunerative as agriculture and vegetable- 
growing. The bleak shores of the Sea of Okhotsk are very 
unfavourable to agriculture. Even potatoes will not ripen 
near the mouth of the Uda, though barley and excellent vege- 
tables are grown inland round Udski-Ostrog. Yet cabbages 
and even cauliflowers do well in the more sheltered region 
of Yamsk. In Kamchatka the rich black earth and com- 
parative dryness of the soil between Verkhne-Kamchatsk and 
Klyuchevskaya make agriculture possible in the valley of the 
Kamchatka, and barley and vegetables ripen round Petro- 
pavlovsk. Indeed, vegetables such as potatoes, beets, carrots, 
radishes, and cabbages are grown in most of the villages of 
the peninsula. In the Petropavlovsk district over 100 acres 
are sown with vegetables. Potatoes and turnips have ripened 
at Siktyakh, on the Lena, and there are several small kitchen 
gardens at Markovo on the Anadir. The example of Alaska 
shows that there is no reason why the growing of vegetables 
should not be widely extended in these regions. 

Opium and Tobacco 
The Ussuri region is very favourable to the poppy, and 
it used to send a quantity of opium to China. Russians are 
not addicted to the drug, but the Cossacks, who are not good 
agriculturists, readily let their land to the Chinese grower 
for £10 an acre. They are thus enabled to live in idleness, and 
they rapidly become demoralized. Not only does the poppy 
exhaust the ground, but it diminishes the output of beehives 
in the neighbourhood by 75 per cent. Moreover, it attracts 
Chinese of a very undesirable type. In 1911 some 10,000 acres 



were under poppy, and much more is probably grown illicitly 
in the remoter districts. Its sale, except as a drug, is illegal 
in Russia, but there is a large contraband Chinese traffic. 
Indeed, so alarmingly has the trade increased, that the growing 
of the poppy is to be prohibited by law. In 1913 the crops 
were destroyed by order of the Government. 

Some tobacco is grown in the Yeniseisk and Irkutsk Pro- 
vinces. About 600 acres were under tobacco in the Maritime 
Province in 1911. 


Cedar-nuts, which give good oil, are gathered for eating in 
the Amur Province, and in much larger quantities on the 
upper Yenisei and the upper courses of the tributaries of the 
Angara. In the Sayansk taiga, especially, the industry is 
organized on a commercial basis. September and October are 
the months for collecting. Wooden mortars are used for 
husking the cones. The forests lie in the heart of the Sayansk 
taiga. In a good season, which occurs every 4-5 years, 
800 tons are sent to Krasnoyarsk from the Yenisei. 

Crops of Siberia and Stfppes 

Mean crop 





Wheat . 

. 3,215,920 


Barley . 










. 11,549,860 



Millet . 




Leguminous croj 

>s . 31,930 


. 1,637,500 



Area under Crops in 




Total Culti- 
vated Area. 


6c Legu- 



















Akmolinsk . 

















































Total . 








Domestic animals — Apiculture — Dairy industry 

Domestic Animals 

In western Siberia the raising of live-stock is a great occu- 
pation of the inhabitants, though more to meet their own 
needs than for the purposes of trade with other nations. In 
eastern Siberia, especially with regard to horses and cattle, 
it is better developed than agriculture, but is still far from 
sufficing for the needs of the country. The figures for the 
principal .live-stock in 1911 were as follows : 





{coarse wool) 

Tobolsk ... 749,672 



















Yakutsk . 




Irkutsk . 
















Sakhalin . 






Province. Sheep 



{fine fleece) 

Tobolsk .... 3,251 



Tomsk . 















Yakutsk . 


Irkutsk . 









Primorsk . 



Sakhalin . 



71,520 358,445 1,179,590 


Horses predominate among the Kirghiz, who breed them 
for transport, meat, and kumis, which is manufactured from 
their milk : the Kirghiz ride wherever they go, however short 
the distance. When they change from a nomadic to a settled 
life, the number of their horses decreases and that of their 
cattle increases. The tribes of the Altai largely breed horses ; 
from their mares' milk a spirit called terasum is prepared. In 
le rest of Siberia the horses are bred mainly for farm-work or 

act as post-horses. 

The chief breeds in Siberia are the Kuznetsk and Kirghiz. 
In the south of Tobolsk the native horse is interbred with 
the Kirghiz variety. This cross-breed is of extraordinary 
speed and staying power. The horses in Tomsk are bigger ; 
they are not so swift, but can carry great weights. The 
Siberian horse is usually small, easily satisfied as to food and 
water, and can endure heat and cold. It is fast, but not 
extremely strong : its normal load does not exceed from 
720 to 900 lb. Only the superior sort of dray-horses draw 
1,000 to 1,080 lb. (or, for a short distance, 1,260). There is 
but little breeding with English and American horses, except 
for the carriage-horses of very rich men. But high-stepping 
horses thus bred can be seen at certain places, e. g. Tyumen 
and Tomsk. 

There are certain breeding-places, especially in the Tomsk 
Government, where stallions are kept ; their number was 
much increased in 1912. Besides these there are stud farms 
in the Tomsk, Tobolsk, and Semipalatinsk Provinces. Horse- 
shows have been introduced in the towns of Tomsk and 
Barnaul and the village of Bryukhanovo, in the Tomsk Govern- 

In eastern Siberia horse-breeding is an important industry. 
The Transbaikal horse is the best known and most popular 
in the southern districts. The Cossacks of the Amur prefer 
it to any other, and it is the only breed used in Sakhalin. 
It is small, thin, hardy, and well suited to endure a rough life. 
It is 12 or 13 hands high, can draw a load of 1,000 lbs., and 
cover any distance at 40 miles a day in a troika. So light is 


the snowfall in the Transbaikal and Amur Provinces that it 
can graze all the year round in the open. The vostretz grass 
(meadow-grass) of the Transbaikal, which affords almost better 
food in winter than in summer, keeps the horses in condition 
there. In the Amur Province, where there is no such grass, 
they get thin in winter, though they quickly fatten again in 
spring. But the breed degenerates rapidly there. The 
Government has recently started stud farms with good 
stallions in the Transbaikal and Yakutsk Provinces in order 
to improve the breed. In the Transbaikal the average price 
of a horse is about 5 guineas, at Blagovyeshchensk from 
10 to 20 guineas. 

In the Yakutsk Province the ugly little Yakut horse, with 
its shaggy coat, displays astonishing endurance. It often lives 
out of doors in winter, and is even used within the Arctic circle. 

Cattle, — The Siberiaks are much more careless about their 
cattle than the emigrants, for they allow them to remain out 
in the winter without any shelter except such as is given 
them by their coats, which are as a rule very thick. Cattle- 
raising is especially developed in the Tyukalinsk district of 
Tobolsk and in the Kainsk steppe and about the Chulim in 
Tomsk. Cattle have increased in value ; formerly they were 
worth about £1 each ; latterly they could command from £2 to 
£4. The local prices for meat range low ; so it is more profitable, 
when possible, to use them for dairy purposes. Consequently 
there has been a decline in the hide and meat trades. The 
export of cattle themselves is inconsiderable — in 1911, 
65,000 head (£250,000). The great commercial centres of the 
cattle trade are Petropavlovsk and Omsk (where the railway 
crosses the Ishim and the Irtish). From the former meat is 
exported to European Russia at the rate of 30,000,000 tons 
a year. Further west there is not enough cold storage for 
trade, but some firms are establishing cold storage plants along 
the railway. In the steppes cattle are bred for meat, as well 
as for dairy purposes, but the meat is mostly for local con- 
sumption, and of little economic value, though a certain 
amount is exported frozen in winter to Petrograd, Moscow, 


and the far east from the region between Petropavlovsk and 
Novo-Nikolaevsk ; there is no export in the summer. Some 
time ago a German company was said to be organizing the 
export of Siberian meat, especially veal, to Berlin. 

Both the Yeniseisk and Irkutsk Provinces are poorly off for 
cattle. But stock-raising is the chief occupation of the nomads 
of Minusinsk, Achinsk, and Turukhansk, and of the natives 
of the Balagansk and Verkholensk regions. The Minusinsk 
district alone has enough for its own needs. In southern 
Yeniseisk each peasant possesses, on an average, 2 horses, 
5 cattle, and 10 sheep. All the oats and hay are kept for food 
for the stock in the winter. Large herds of the fine, fleshy 
Soyot cattle enter the Irkutsk Province every year through 
the Sayansk Range for the supply of meat to Siberia. As 
many as 30,000 cattle are said to reach Irkutsk by a single 
track. The animals are kept in quarantine for a fortnight and 
are medically examined before crossing the frontier. 

In Transbaikal cattle-raising is very successful, especially 
among the nomad tribes. Thanks to the vostretz grass, it 
should be capable of considerable development. There is even 
a co-operative society, with its centre at Chita, which engages 
in purchasing cattle for the army. As many as 150,000 hides 
are annually exported from this province. They are used to 
cover tea-chests. Owing to the rough life the effects of 
attempts to improve the breed have only become visible in the 
last few generations. The average price of a cow is £3 15s. ; 
of a pair of bullocks, £10 15s. 

In the Amur and Maritime Provinces the cattle are Man- 
churian or Korean. As they are never milked at home, they 
only give milk while the calf is with them. In Blagovyesh- 
chensk cows of local breed cost from £8 5s. to £12 10s ; bulls 
from £8 6s. 8d. to £12 10s. Some authorities believe that the 
future of the Amur Province lies in cattle-breeding rather than 
in agriculture, and vigorous efforts are to be made to en- 
courage it. At present the greater part of the meat supply 
comes from Manchuria. In 1907, 5,000 head of Manchurian 
cattle and sheep were imported. The chief fairs are at 


Blagovyeshchensk, Khabarovsk, Nikolsk-Ussuriski, and Vladi- 
vostok. Australian meat has been imported into Vladivostok 
in small quantities. 

The cattle are of small breed ; the average live weight of 
cows is 510 to 650 lb., of bulls 800 to 930 lb. ; the Altai 
breed is bigger. On account of the rigorous climate of Siberia 
it is little use to import foreign breeds. A small number of 
Simmenthal and Allhausen cattle have been purchased at 
Moscow and introduced into Siberia, but only by the well-to- 
do. Cattle as a rule are free from tuberculosis, but suffer from 
Siberian plague and from foot and mouth disease (yashchur). 
Quarantine regulations have practically extinguished rinder- 
pest, which in certain years, such as 1884, wrought great 
disaster. Despite the primitive nature of their keep, the 
Siberian cattle stand the climate well. 

Sheep. — The ordinary Siberian sheep is of a poor breed ; 
it yields little meat, very little tallow, and inferior wool. 
The Kirghiz sheep vary in colour ; they are grey, white, 
black, and sometimes red ; the Kirghiz prefer the grey and 
white, as their wool fetches a better price in the markets. 
They are shorn twice a year, yielding from four to six pounds of 
unwashed wool, which is largely used for felt, both for local 
needs and in the factories of western Siberia. The Kirghiz 
sheep in winter cannot get at their food through the snow ; 
so they follow in the wake of the horses and cattle, and eat 
what pasture is left for them. One type of Kirghiz sheep 
has a thick pad of fat on its rump, which affords much tallow. 
Tallow factories are common in the western Siberian towns, 
but there is not enough to meet the local needs, and tallow is 

Since 1900 a breed of fine-fleece merino sheep has been 
introduced ; it is of Spanish origin and was reared in the 
Crimea ; it prospers in the Semipalatinsk and Akmolinsk 
Governments, and in the Altai in the Zmyeinogorsk district. 
The average yield of unwashed wool is 13 lb. to 15 lb., the 
best rams yielding up to 36 lb., the best ewes up to 22£ lb. 
The wool sells at Kharkov from 16s. to £1 4s. the pud. The 


sheep are brought by considerably reduced tariffs to the 
steppe and Altai regions. The wool exported to European 
Russia in 1911 was worth £400,000. A considerable quantity 
of the wool goes to Irbit and thence to Nizhne-Novgorod and 
the interior of European Russia by rail and water, or else 
by the Irtish to the Perm Railway, and so by the Kama 
and Volga to the centre of Russia. In old days the sheep 
that found no place in the fresh-meat market were sent to 
the salgani and salted for the winter, and sold for as little as 
Id. or \d. the lb. ; now only a smaJl amount of meat goes 
to the salgani. 

Sheep-breeding seems likely to become an important in- 
dustry in the Yeniseisk and Irkutsk Provinces, now that the 
merino sheep has been acclimatized in central Siberia. The 
plains of the Yenisei have been found to be suitable for sheep- 
farming on a large scale, and it is probable that the numbers 
are already far greater than in 1911. The soil yields excellent 
forage and in a good season sufficient hay can be obtained for 
several years. The cost- of transferring flocks from Russia 
is heavy, but the Government is providing subsidies for this 
purpose and for the development of new sheep-farms. The 
sheep are killed for their wool and their tallow. There is as 
yet no regular demand for mutton. Indeed an elaborate 
system of refrigerators would have to be organized before it 
would be possible to find and supply a regular market with 

In Transbaikal the sheep are large, with an average height 
of over 2 ft. The wool is coarse, thick, and of medium length. 
The average price is £1 12s. 2d. In the Amur Province the 
absence of dry pasturage is unfavourable to sheep. The few 
that are bred are Mongolian. 

Goats are bred by the Kirghiz, Cossacks, and Russian 
peasants. The industry of preparing goat's hair coverings 
is developing among the emigrants in Turgai. Large numbers 
of goats are kept by the natives of Transbaikal. In 1914 
there were 114,105 there. 

Pigs. — The Russian pig is a strong animal, and stands the 


discomforts of temperature and crowding well. It is only 
the Russian population who keep pigs east of the Ural ; 
the Kirghiz, being Mohammedans, are not allowed to eat or 
keep them. Development of the bacon industry promises 
well, because the growth of dairy-farming has meant abundant 
supplies of butter-milk for pig food. The amount of bacon 
exported went up from 700 tons in 1908 to 4,800 tons in 
1911. There is a proposal for a British company to acquire 
the waste lands along the banks of the Ob, and to place 
them under grass-cultivation for breeding bacon-pigs, so 
that there should be ultimately an enormous bacon-export 
by the Kara Sea. Kurgan contains a sausage factory, and 
there are at least two bacon factories in Siberia. 

In Yeniseisk, Irkutsk, and Transbaikal pig-breeding is 
carried on extensively. In Transbaikal the animals are Man- 
churian and of poor quality. They are small and lean, but 
they increase rapidly. The breed is being improved by 
imported swine. The average price is £1 12s. 2d. Pigs are 
not numerous in the Amur Province, but in the Primorsk the 
pig-industry is considerably developed, especially on the Ussuri. 
Greater care might make it more successful than it has proved 
hitherto. Here also the breed is Manchurian. 

Camels are bred by the Kirghiz, and in a few cases by 
Russian emigrants : those with single humps are larger, 
and supposed to be stronger than those with two. The camels 
are better cared for by their masters than the cattle are ; 
they are very sensitive to cold, and so winter forage is stored 
for them. They are used for transport purposes and also 
for their milk and hair, which is obtained once a year in the 
spring, giving an average of 12 lb. per camel. 

The camels in the Transbaikal, of which there were 10,992 
in 1911, are strong and of great endurance. A pair of them 
can carry 20-25 cwt. The average price is about £10 155. 

Reindeer are found in great numbers in the north of 
Tobolsk Government and to some extent in the Narim district 
of Tomsk. It is very difficult to obtain any idea of their 
numbers, but they have been estimated at 515,000 in Tobolsk, 


and 2,000 in Tomsk. To the Ostyak and Samoyede who 
possess them, the reindeer means everything — milk, meat, 
clothing, travelling, and traction. 

There are small herds of reindeer in the Amur and Irkutsk 
Provinces. In 1906 there were said to be 515,000 reindeer 
in the Yeniseisk Province, principally in the Turukhansk region, 
)5,360 reindeer in the Yakutsk Province, 80 per cent, of 
;hem being in the Verkhoyansk and Kolima districts. In 
the Kamchatka Province, including the Chukchee Peninsula, 
there were 287,000 reindeer. These numbers can only be 
ipproximate. The Chukchee have the largest herds of 
reindeer in the world. 

In the north reindeer and sledge dogs are the only domestic 

Maral deer are kept in the Altai, along the upper Irtish, 
and in the southern regions of the Yeniseisk and Irkutsk 
Provinces. They are a kind of wapiti, which are kept in 
special farms (maralniki). Their horns, cut off in the velvet, 
are sold to the Chinese, who extract from it a drug (panty), 
much esteemed by them, but of very doubtful efficacy. The 
price of horns fluctuates very much, depending on the state 
of the markets : it commonly varies from 14s. to £1 per lb. 
But those horns which are sold with the frontal bone are 
considerably dearer — £10 or even occasionally £20 per lb. — 
as it is then necessary to kill the animal. As the horns attain 
a weight of 101b. and the average weight is 5 or 6 lb., and 
the keep costs practically nothing, it can be seen that this 
form of deer-breeding is very profitable. In Transbaikal the 
izyubr or wapiti (Gervus canadensis), which closely resembles 
the maral, is bred instead, while in the Primorsk,in addition to 
the izyubr, the aksis, the most valuable of all these deer, is 
found. The horns of the aksis fetch from £3 to £3 10s. per 
lb. Of the 10,000 deer of this type in maralniki in Asiatic 
Russia in 1911, 3,125 were in the Maritime Province, especially 
near Olgi Bay and the Suchan River. The industry is likely 
to develop still further. The kabargi or musk-deer (Moschus 
moschiferus) is also being bred commercially ; it is highly 


valued by the Chinese for the medicinal properties of its musk 
and its horns. 

Poultry, <fbc. — There is a certain export of eggs from Kurgan. 

Owing to the presence of many lakes and ponds, duck- and 
goose-breeding might have considerable development, but it 
takes a long time to start. Siberian geese are comparatively 


This is a very old industry in Russia, recorded as long ago 
as the eleventh century ; the Russian princes used to levy 
tribute of wax and honey on their conquered subjects. The 
bee has had almost a sacred character because of the wax 
candles used in religious worship. The decay of the industry 
is said to be due to the drying up of the steppes, and in some 
parts to the destruction of the forests ; but there are parts 
of western Siberia in which it is very active, expecially the 
districts of Kuznetsk, Biisk, Zmyeinogorsk, and Ust-Kameno- 
gorsk ; there is also some beekeeping as far north as the 
district of Tomsk, and among the Urals, where there are 
artels for beekeeping, e. g. at Verkhne-Tagilski. In the 
Achinsk and Minusinsk districts, in the south of Yeniseisk, 
there are over 45,000 hives. The Little Russians have here 
introduced the latest methods. Apiculture in the Amur 
Province is on a small scale, but growing rapidly in import- 
ance. It is concentrated along the Ityela, the Khara, and the 
Zavitaya, where 92 villages carry it on on commercial lines 
with 2,757 hives. In 1911 44,345 lb. of honey and 4,434 lb. 
of wax were sold. The climate and vegetation of the Amur 
Province are very favourable to apiculture. Its slow growth 
is due to the fact that the peasants find other work more 
profitable. Bee-keeping is also very successfully carried on 
in the Maritime Province, notably round Nikolsk-Ussuriski. 

Besides artels in certain places other help is given to bee- 
keepers : a considerable number of expert instructors is 
available, and local government bodies sell bee-culture 
equipments at reduced rates, where desirable. It is estimated 


I that the collective output of Siberia is about one-fifth of the 
output of the whole Russian Empire. The most recent figures 
available are those for (a) private owners in 1910, and (b) 
peasants in 1908. 



Average price 


Average price 

of hives. 

per pud. 

per pud. 


£ s. d. 


£ s. d. 




16 6 


2 8 

Steppes . 



17 2 


2 1 9 

Siberia . 



12 1 


1 3 


71,686 313£ 10 3 31 2 2 

Dairy Industry 

The dairy industry has developed with more astonishing 
rapidity than any other undertaking in Siberia. Before 1893 
only toplennoe (boiled or melted butter) was manufactured 
in Siberia ; it sold at an average of 12s. per pud, and required 
32 puds of milk to produce one pud, the average price of 
milk being <±%d. or 4fd. per pud. It is still made by the 
Russian peasants but not exported. In 1893 the first dairy 
farm was begun near Tyumen by the English wife of a Russian. 
The new article sold at from £1 to £1 4s. the pud, and required 
20 or 22 puds of milk for one pud. In the course of ten 
years the amount developed, under government patronage, 
to 32,000 tons, worth about £2,500,000. The growth of the 
industry was so astonishing that between 1900 and 1902 the 
number of dairies had increased by 91 per cent. Government 
encouraged it by granting loans, for which the live-stock 
of the peasants was sufficient security, and subsidies to 
village communities for establishing dairies. In 1903 an 
additional £200,000 was granted for starting dairies on the 
artel system, by which several peasants distributed the pro- 
ceeds in proportion to the amount of milk provided ; it 
becomes a general or public dairy when the group is extended 
so as to include the whole village community. Further, the 
Government established technical dairy schools at Kurgan, 
Omsk, Kainsk, Barnaul, and Zmyeinogorsk, a central labora- 



tory at Tomsk, and local laboratories in five other centres, 
and refrigerating stores began to be erected along the railway. 

Butter is small in bulk and can be profitably exported. 
The export trade, which began in 1897, is mainly in the hands 
of firms in Moscow, hitherto largely managed by Germans and 
Danes. Lately more interest has been taken by British com- 
merce in this industry, but only one or two British firms have 
established offices in Siberia, and only one British house has 
regular offices in its own name at the principal centres of 
export. Siberian cheese also finds a ready market at home, 
but the better grades are also sold throughout Europe. 

Siberian milk contains an exceptionally high proportion 
of fat. The pasture is rich, and the cattle eat much and 
drink little. Owing to its richness the average yield is 1 lb. 
of butter to 20-05 lb. of milk, whereas in Denmark it is to 
28 lb. The Siberian cow is long lived ; its meat is inferior, 
so that most are kept for dairy purposes ; fodder cannot be 
exported at a profit, and will therefore continue to be cheap 
in the country. Cattle are now fed scientifically on preserved 
fodder. A cow brings in from 14s. to £1 Is. a month in accor- 
dance with the season. 

The Government aim at having an artel dairy in each 
village ; any one of average industry and intelligence after 
three months' training at a dairy school is competent to be 
engaged by an artel to direct their labour. There are instruc- 
tors with about ten dairies under them, who have usually! 
been Germans or Danes. Most of the dairies work with hand- 
or horse-power, steam being less applicable in out-of-the-way 
places. Pasteurization of milk is being introduced, and cemenl 
floors in dairies are to be obligatory. The dairies purchase 
milk from neighbouring farmers and cream from those more 
distant. Many farmers churn their own butter and sell i 1 
to the dairies to be rewashed, tested, classified, packed anc 
sent off to the market-centres. The cost of milk at the dairie 
is 4:d. a gallon ; the price obtained for butter varies fron 
9|d to 8%d. a pound. In 1910 15 butter factories producec 
up to 7,500 lb. ; 30 between 7,500 and 12,500 lb. ; 15 up t< 


18,000 lb. ; 11 up to 25,000 lb. ; 8 up to 40,000 lb. In 1912 

there were 1,060 dairies in Tobolsk, and 2,042 in Tomsk. 

Of this total of 3,102, there were 1,784 in private hands, and 

1,318 managed by artels (42-5 per cent, of the whole). 

Everything is done to help the export trade, which is 

irected to the Baltic ports by butter trains, which take 

:ecedence of all other goods traffic. They start from Novo- 

fikolaevsk during the summer (especially in June and July) 

m to fourteen times a week. The ice-trucks have a carrying 

ipacity of from 7J tons to 22| tons. The train is made up 

it the various butter-transit centres with ready -loaded trucks 

far as Chelyabinsk, and reaches the number of twenty-five 

nicks. Among the chief centres of the trade are Omsk, 

rhich is a sort of clearing-house for exportation of butter, 

md Kurgan, which is the main distributing-point for home 

and foreign markets, and where all butter exported is subject 

to a preliminary investigation by state officials, members 

of the Agronomical Organization. On arrival at the ports, 

especially Riga (and Windau before the war), it is loaded on 

special refrigerators, and so on to the steamers which convey 

it to London, Hamburg, Hull, and Copenhagen, of which the 

last named does a considerable amount of re-exportation. 

The sea-freight to British ports costs about 5d. per pud. 

There are extensive refrigerators at the chief loading stations. 

This is the main route of the butter trade, but the Kurgan 

Farmers' Association has been pressing the importance of 

pushing the trade in south European Russia, and there is 

a great opening for it in the Far East, which depends on 

tinned Canadian milk and tinned Australian butter. It is 

said that Siberian butter actually improves by being kept 

in cold storage, even up to six months. 

A few figures will show the rapid development of the industry 
and its present proportions. Starting from nothing in 1893, 
the export of butter in 1903 was 35,225 tons, the principal 
centres being Kurgan, which exported 8,227 tons, and Novo- 
Nikolaevsk, through which came the Altai butter, which 
exported 8,066| tons. In 1912 there was a great development ; 


: • 

the transport by the Siberian lanway 

cent, between April and October en the 

same period the Tear before. To 

were eiported as eomwured with 

A larger proportion of what was sent 

interior markets o*i Rwfinaw Ihe annorti 

-".-. -.<: ' •.-:-.-.:• ..;\ . 7-.:\-.v.. 

exported from Siberia, ehieny from Tehekk and 

in 1 ^ worth £2L$36J00: 

in 1911 is. wort 

In 1913 the amoont exported 

and for none consumption 71.300 tc 
of The war caused a peat decrease o wine to 

abnormal conditions and the dosmg of the Bailie ported bail 
even in 1914 there went from Barnaul £1,130 tons, and from 

Dairy-farming *> ^ mnch lees importance m eastern 

Siberia, Yeniseisk only supplies 1-2 per cent, of the Siberian 

prodace on the market. In Transradial the cat tie are 

small and yield little milk : this is especially trae of t he 

Buryat cattle. Mongolian in orkin. 

Dairy-farming is sJowiy incf ea si n g m Ine Maritime Ro vm t e. 
In 1911 this province only contained fire co-operative dairies,] 
but in 1913 there were eighteen. In 1911 local butte 
from l* 11a*. to 3s. *(. a lb., bat in 1913 it was only 1*. A*. 
Nearly all the dairy produce is the work of the four summer 
months. The local dealers often have contracts with wees 
an nrms. Hence the butter fails to become known 
locally. Proposals hare been made for haiHmg coMkstoiagt 

and ^ msat. and even further north, but caule-raisins 

oan never be profitable in these regions. 


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44,075,900 acres were organized and investigated, and it 
was hoped that by the beginning of 1915 nearly a quarter of 
the whole area of State forests would have been thus dealt 
with. The average Siberian forestry district exceeds the 
wooded area of all Great Britain (3,037,500 acres). The 
average allotment is 311,850 acres, but this computation 
includes a great part of the northern district, which is prac- 
tically valueless. No wood of economic value is obtained 
north of lat. 60° N., though larches grow to lat. 68° N. on 
the east side of the Urals. The height and diameter of the 
northerly trees are small ; they grow very slowly, and their 
wood is weak and poor. Taller and better trunks are only 
to be found at some isolated, dry places, but, unless trees 
grow conveniently close to one another, they are not of much 
commercial value. 

Trade. — The Siberian timber trade, as a whole, is disappoint- 
ing. In 1911 in the whole of Asiatic Russia 1,800,750,000 
cubic feet of timber were assigned for sale, but only 10 per 
cent, was sold. From the State forests of Asiatic Russia in 
1910 were realized £423,400; in 1911, £407,900; in 1912, 
£425,900. The value of each desyatin (2-7 acres) was roughly 
Is. 10^d. in Akmolinsk ; \\d. in Tobolsk ; \\d. or lfcZ. in 
Tomsk. As regards the State forests of Siberia only, in 1911 
there were 558,002,916 acres, of which 211,087,351 were 
worked directly by the Government . The birch-bark, bast, &c . , 
produced were about 1,260 tons. The total amount of pro- 
duced material was 126,662,011 cubic feet. The gross receipts 
were £273,293, and the net profit £60,994. 

Administration. — Paid forest guards are appointed to look 
after the forests of western Siberia, and the peasants are 
supposed to see to the forests put at their disposal. The 
administration only allows that part of the forest to be cut 
each year which is specially assigned, and control is exer- 
cised over the raftage and steamer- wharves. The Forestry 
Administration is undermanned. A law was passed in 1889 
that those engaged in the timber trade should, under pay- 
ment of a deposit, replant the forest land laid bare. But 


this is seldom done, most deposits are forfeited, and only 

14 per cent, is replanted. Forest fires are a frequent calamity ; 

hey are caused mainly by the burning of the grass in spring 

d by sparks from engines. The latter cause, coupled with 

e hewing of wood to meet the needs of the railway, means 

t there is never much forest in the neighbourhood of the 

ines. Severe storms also do much damage where the wood 

is thin. 

The Western Provinces. — The most recent figures for the 

State forests in the western provinces are as follows : 



Area : acres. 

Suitable Forest 
Soil : acres. 

Tomsk . 












In the Tobolsk Government the best timber is thought to 
be in the valleys of the Tavda, Tura, and Pelim ; estimates 
differ considerably, but the more sanguine assign to these 
valleys about 27,000,000 acres^of good timber. In Tomsk 
the forest belt is in the north part ; the south part is half 
forestless, but the Kuznetsk and Mariinsk districts and the 
Altai mountain region are forested, though in many parts 
the forest is not at all dense. In the mountainous parts it is 
very difficult to cut the timber because of the precipitous 
places in which it grows. When felled, it is apt to fall into 
ravines below, not only being lost itself, but smashing other 
trees in its fall. There is no possibility of raftage on the 
rivers there because of their swiftness. Some timber is 
transported by camels across the Kirghiz steppe. But on 
the steppes and in considerable parts of the Governments 
of Tomsk and Tobolsk, the amount of forest is not enough 
for local needs. 

Timber trees in Western Siberia. — The principal woods of 
Western Siberia are white cedar or cembra pine, pine, spruce, 
fir, larch, oak, ash, and birch (see Chapter III). Of these 
white cedar and larch are most valued for building, larch 


being especially used for boat-building, also for beams am 
telegraph poles. Birch is used for fuel and building, and th( 
birch spinneys in the neighbourhood of towns rapidly 
disappear. The roofs of the houses of peasant and native 
are made of birch bark. Siberian cedar is of value because 
of its softness ; it can be used for certain kinds of furniture 
and pattern work, and it is worth exporting despite the cost. 

Timber Trade in the West. — The most important place for 
the timber export trade in western Siberia is Tyumen ; an 
enterprising sawmill proprietor from Arkhangel used to send, 
timber to Kotlas by rail; thence it went to Arkhangel by 
steamer and so to London. The wood suffers from ' bluej 
mould ' on the voyage, and so does not fetch as high a price in • 
England as would be anticipated, and the transport is very 
dear. It is difficult during the short summer to bring pine- 
trunks to the saw so dry that they avoid turning blue. Only 
first-class timber can be exported because of the cost of trans- 
port to Arkhangel and Petrograd by rail, and the export by sea 
by the Kara Sea route is negligible. 

Eastern Provinces. — The forest areas of eastern Siberia have 
been very imperfectly surveyed. Little reliance can be placed 
upon official estimates, for there is a general tendency to 
exaggerate the wood resources of the country. Thus in 1908 
a commission gave the wooded area of the Yakutsk Province 
as 540,000,000 acres. Such an estimate must include very 
large treeless spaces. In Yeniseisk, Irkutsk, Transbaikal, and 
Yakutsk the absence of suitable waterways makes the develop- 
ment of a lumbering industry out of the question, unless the 
northern sea-route from the mouth of the Yenisei can be opened 
to regular navigation. There is, however, considerable local 
consumption. The supplies of fire-wood in the immediate 
neighbourhood of the large towns and the principal mining- 
centres are, to a great extent, exhausted. Wood has to be 
rafted down the rivers, notably the Yenisei and the Angara. 
The building of the railway has greatly increased consumption, 
and the price of firewood has doubled in many places. Larch 
is the tree most used. Very fine woods of it are still found on 


the Yenisei, especially on its middle reaches. The Sayansk 
region, where trees grow at an altitude of 3,700 feet, has 
particularly fine forests, the taiga being almost impenetrable 
in many places. 

The wood in the north and north-east is, as a rule, of poor 
quality. There is good timber, mainly larch, fir, spruce, and 
birch, in Sakhalin, but there is no suitable harbour for export- 
ing it. Nor would it be possible to find a profitable market 
for the timber in the valley of the River Kamchatka, the 
only place in the Kamchatka Peninsula where it does well. 
A certain quantity of timber and firewood is annually rafted 
down the Lena, and a little also down the Kolima and Yana. 
In spite of the wide extent of the forests, the price is high 
owing to the scarcity of labour and the exorbitant rate of 

Lumber Industry in the East. — The Siberian lumber industry 
is at present confined to the Amur and Maritime Provinces. 
It is still in its infancy. The extent of the area under timber 
is uncertain, and it is impossible to give exact figures, as 
much of it is unsurveyed. A report for 1913 gives the total 
area of forest land in the far east as 110,052,000 acres, of 
which 30,840,000 are in the Amur Province and 71,463,000 
in the Primorsk. In the Amur Province five-sixths of this 
area is Government property, and most of the rest belongs 
to the Cossacks ; in the Maritime ten-elevenths of the area 
belongs to the Government. The forests cannot compare with 
those of North America in density. They generally lie along 
the sea-coast or in the river -valleys. The best timber districts 
in the Maritime Province are Nikolaevsk, with 33,000,000 
acres, Khabarovsk with 14,245,000 acres, and the lower Amur 
with 12,150,000 acres. 

Concessions. — The government forests are under the Depart- 
ment of Domains, with head-quarters at Khabarovsk. Areas 
that are for sale are knocked down to the highest bidder, 
who is obliged to deposit the royalty on the number of trees 
to be felled for one year. Felling tickets to cut small 
quantities of timber may be obtained from local authorities. 


Hitherto forest grants have been limited to four years, but 
the term will almost certainly be extended to twelve, as 
a concession of four years was found too short for profitable 

Royalties. — A royalty is levied on all timber. It is calcu- 
lated on the cubic measurement of the logs sold, and varies 
according to the size and kind of timber. Formerly con- 
cessions lying more than from 6| to 10 miles from a railway, 
a navigable river, or a bay, paid at a lower rate. Now, however, 
the tax is uniform y and it is hoped that this change will help 
to extend the range of forest-work and thus increase the 
revenue, which fell considerably short of the expenditure. 
But the absence of roads makes it unprofitable to fell timber 
at any distance from the rivers. Owing to the high railway 
rates only 10 or 12 per cent, of this can be profitably exported. 

The Rivers and the Timber Trade. — The Amur and its tribu- 
taries provide an ideal artery for timber -rafts during the 
summer months, and when the suggested harbour improve- 
ments are carried out at Nikolaevsk, it should afford a good 
outlet for the trade in spite of the shortness of the open season. 
Export on a large scale is at present hampered by the poor 
harbours and the length of time during which the rivers are 
frozen, as well as by the difficulty of procuring labour. 

Present State of the Trade. — So unfavourable were the economic 
and labour conditions in 1912 that only 12 out of 106 con- 
cessions were taken up, and only 17 firms instead of the 
usual 20 or 30 were engaged in the trade. A recent forest- 
congress made the following suggestions : 

1. The prohibition of the import of Manchurian wood for 
the railways. 

2. A duty on all Manchurian wood. 

3. A minimum tariff for the export of wood by the Ussuri 

4. Better naming and classification of timber. 

5. Free choice of labour. This means in practice the right 
to employ Chinese. * 

The enforcement of the first recommendation would do 


little good because the railways use mainly hard wood — oak, 
larch, and birch — whereas the Priamur produces chiefly soft 

(wood, such as pine, fir, lime. 
Classification of timber. — The kedr or white cedar is the only 
tree at present in such demand that it is cut in large quantities. 
The best forests in the Maritime Province are found near the 
sources of the Iman and Khor. The grain is much finer than 
in Manchuria. The average of square logs is 19 inches, the 
maximum 28 inches. In Vladivostok it fetches from l\d. to 
8d. per cubic foot, but from 60 to 70 per cent, of this represents 
railway freight. In the harbours of the Maritime Province 
the cost is from 5§d to 6^. alongside vessel. Most of the 
best goes to Great Britain. 

Larch suitable for use under water or for telegraph-posts 
is to be had throughout the northern regions of the Priamur. 
It costs about 5d. to 5\d. alongside vessel. Larch, fir and 
spruce, with some birch and aspen, make up the northern 
forests. The price may be given as 4^. to 4fd. on board. 
Oak and ash of moderate quality are found in many places, 
but are used only for firewood. The oak is said to be rich in 
tannin. The oak in the interior of the Maritime Province is 
of better quality. 

The pitch pine (Picea ayanensis) is fairly close-grained, white, 

| and very light, and is exported in large quantities to Australia. 

Excellent yellow pine is found in the very large forest between 

i Blagovyeshchensk and Chita, and also along the Zeya and the 

Bureya. It is at present quite untouched, but the cost of 

i cutting and rafting makes it doubtful whether it could be 

delivered at Nikolaevsk for 5\d. per cubic foot, as suggested. 

In any case only the higher grades of wood, from 18 to 20 
per cent, of the total output, are suitable for export to Europe. 
The Government takes most of the remainder. 

Home Consumption. — The local needs are considerable. 
The railway and the steamers take more and more every 
year. A large quantity of timber is annually floated down 
the Zeya and the Bureya, especially to Zeya-Pristan, Blago- 
vyeshchensk, and other stations, for use in the mining camps 


or on the railway. Moreover, the capture of the Amur fishing 
industry by the Russians from the Japanese has greatly 
increased the demand for wood for packing purposes, and 
a certain amount is needed for match-making. There is no : 
attempt at reafforestation. 

Exports. — The export trade is growing steadily and the tar 
industry developing. The total amount of timber exported! 
from the Priamur in 1910 was 1,617,650 cubic feet, in 1912, 
2,272,570 cubic feet. Vladivostok is still the chief timber? 
port, though the fact that the timber must be brought there 
by rail is against it. In 1912 more than half the timber was 
exported from Vladivostok, 687,548 cubic feet being sent to 
Great Britain, 316,624 cubic feet to Japan, 37,070 cubic feet 
to China, 51,997 cubic feet to Korea, and only 1,545 cubic feet 
to Russia. By far the greater part of the wood exported was 
kedr, except to Japan, which took 307,204 cubic feet of aspen 
for matches. Vladivostok is also the natural outlet for the 
excellent Manchurian timber, and a considerable portion of 
the exports come from over the border. The cost of sending 
the timber by rail and the absence of adequate docks are 
serious drawbacks to Vladivostok. But preparations are 
being made for building a new timber-port, where four 
vessels can load at once. 

Imperatorskaya Bay, whence the Oriental Timber Company 
sends over a million cubic feet of timber (25 per cent, larch, 
75 per cent, fir) annually to Australia, is the only other timber- 
port of note. Exports to Australia are likely to increase 
steadily, for Australia is looking to Siberia to supply her with 
the soft woods which her own forests do not produce in suffi- 
cient quantities. This company also sends planks and furni- 
ture wood to the British Isles, ash to Japan, and logs and 
boards to Denmark. In 1911, however, 110,000 cubic feet of 
white pine were exported from Ternei Bay to Australia, a 
374,000 cubic feet of pit props were dispatched from Olgi B 
In the same year timber was exported from Posiet Bay for t 
first time, to the amount of about 100,000 cubic feet. Tyutik 
Bay also plays a small part in the timber-trade. 

; of 


The Governor-General Gondatti was fully alive to the im- 
portance of the industry, and on the completion of the Amur 
[Railway he proposed to agitate for a branch line from the 
[Jssuri Railway to Imperatorskaya Bay and Olgi Bay. 

Aspen, which is found everywhere, is sent to Japan for 
match-making, but there is no reason why the industry 
should not be established in Siberia. The oak of good quality, 
but small dimensions, which grows in some parts of the 
interior of the Maritime Province in small quantities, is 
beginning to be exported. 

With better management the Priamur forests should be able 
to supply China with much of the timber she now imports 
from Japan and the United States. 


The annual turnover of the sawmills in Siberia is about 
£300,000. The principal ones in western Siberia are at Tobolsk 
Tyumen, Omsk, Novo-Nikolaevsk, and Tomsk, with others 
serving a smaller radius at Barnaul and Biisk. The great saw- 
mills at Novo-Nikolaevsk deal principally with wood from the 
neighbourhood of the Ob, between Barnaul and the railway. 
The wood is cut into logs of 21 feet. The best wood has 
a diameter of from 12 to 16 in. ; trunks are found with 
a diameter of 35 in., but in that case the heart is no longer 
good. In big sawmills that work day and night as many 
as 20,000 trunks are sawn through in the year at each frame. 
The railway greatly stimulated the amount of sawmill work, 
for much of the wood was used on it, and it provided means 
of transport. Sawmills are usually lit with electric light. 

In the town of Irkutsk the sawmill industry is consider- 
ably developed. The wood comes from Lake Baikal and the 
valleys of the Angara and Irkut. Logs are sent even to 

Blagovyeshchensk, where there is a prosperous sawmill 
industry, is the centre of the timber trade on the Amur. 
The Government has already established three mills of Swedish 
type on the north bank of the Amur, and has taken over 


another at Sviyagino on the Ussuri Railway. It also proposes*' 
to build a large mill of the latest American pattern, but it 
has not yet selected the site. At Alexandrovsk in Sakhalin 
there is a government sawmill supplying local demands/* 
In 1912 the sawmills in the Amur and Maritime Provinces] 
and Sakhalin numbered 62, with an annual output of 
2,050,000 logs. 

Wood Industries 

The manufacture of veneer and three-ply in the neighbour- 
hood of Vladivostok is steadily increasing. Several factories, 
for the making of barrels for the Amur fishing industry have 1 
been established in and round Vladivostok. 

At Spasskaya (Yevgenevka), on the Ussuri Railway, a 
factory exists for the chemical treatment of wood and the 
production of turpentine, tar, wood alcohol, vinegar, resin, and 


Iron — Copper — Gold — Silver — Zinc and Lead — Platinum — Asbestos — 
Graphite — Mica — Petroleum — Other Metallic Ores — Coal — Salt — Precious 
Stones and Building Materials. 

The mineral resources of Siberia, especially of the east, 
are very little known. The merest beginning has been made 
with their development. But they will undoubtedly take the 
first place in attracting much-needed capital to the country 
in the near future, especially to the remoter regions. 


The iron deposits in the Urals are second only to those of 
south Russia in the part they play in the iron industry of the 
empire. The output of pig-iron from the Urals in 1913 was 
896,817 tons. There were 75 iron works, including 13 belong- 
ing to the Government, at that time active in the province. 
The output has fallen off somewhat during the war. 

In western Siberia the railway has proved fatal to such 
attempts as have been made to establish an iron industry. 
The demand is not sufficient to support a large foundry. 
The old mines away from the railway cannot now compete 
with the Ural foundries. The Bogoslovski works, for 
instance, can send their goods into the heart of the Ob basin 
on their own steamers by the Tavda and the Irtish. The 
Tomsk region perhaps offers the best prospects for the estab- 
lishment of a successful iron industry now that the Altai 
Railway is open. On the Telbes, a tributary of the Kondoma, 
near Kuznetsk, are rich deposits of magnetic ore within 


20 miles of beds of good coking coal. The deposits at Gurevskoe, 
some 150 miles to the north of these, only contain inferior ore 
and do not promise a prosperous future to the small foundry 
that works them. All the Altai beds are Crown property. 
There is also a small factory at Abakanskoe in the Minusinsk 
region, where there are plentiful deposits of ore, but its 
output is diminishing. Some twenty iron beds have been 
located in the Kirghiz steppes, more especially near Karkara- 
linsk. They have not yet been "properly examined and are 
too remote for profitable working, but in some of them the 
percentage of ore is high and there is coal near. Iron deposits 
also exist near Tyumen, from which the owner annually 
extracts his statutary 170 tons by the most primitive methods 
in order not to forfeit his concession. 

In eastern Siberia even the Nikolaevsk foundry, at one time 
the largest in the country, situated on the River Oka, 30 
miles from Bratski-Ostrog, in the neighbourhood of excellent 
ore, has been obliged to close down. Iron is found in several 
parts of the valleys of the Yenisei and its tributaries, such as 
the Abakan and the Angara ; in the valleys of the upper Lena 
and the Kirenga ; near Misovsk on Lake Baikal ; and on the 
Tsagan-Khuntei Range, west of the Khilok valley, near where 
the range is crossed by the post-road. In the Nerchinsk 
district several deposits are known, but they have been little 
investigated. It is so plentiful in the southern regions, which 
are the centres of the gold and silver mining, that the whole 
range there has been called iron. The Baleginsk deposit 
of magnetic ore supplies the Petrovsk iron works which are 
on the railway. They were built to supply the needs of the 
Nerchinsk Crown lands and have never been very productive. 
The machinery is quite obsolete. Hitherto only red oxides 
have been treated. The deposits are extensive and there are 
said to be large supplies of magnetic ore quite untouched in 
the neighbourhood. 

Iron is plentiful round Yakutsk. It also exists in the 
valley of the Amgun, near the mouth of the Amur, where it 
should be capable of profitable working, round Olgi and 

IRON 273 

Vladimir Bays, as well as in the peninsula of Kamchatka and 
I near Due in Sakhalin. A rich deposit has recently been 
discovered near the junction of the Samara and the Amur. 
The irregularities of the compass between Plastun Bay and 
Cape Povorotni point to the existence of extensive iron-beds 

•the Maritime Province. 
The deposits near Vladimir and Olgi Bays are commercially 
i most promising, though the nearest fuel, the timber on 
the Sikhota-Alin, is 13 miles away and Olgi Bay is not too 
good a harbour. Hitherto they have been almost unex- 
ploited, but now that the export of ore is no longer prohibited, 
a profitable market lies ready to hand in Japan. A blast 
furnace is to be built at Mramorni Point, near Olgi Bay. 
Eastern Siberia has till now been largely supplied with 
pig-iron from Germany. 


Copper has been worked in Siberia from time immemorial. 
Prehistoric or Child excavations, as they are called, are 
frequently found in the west. They often gave the first 
indication of the presence of the metal to the early prospectors. 

The output of copper in the Russian Empire rose from 
under 10,000 tons in 1906 to 34,300 in 1913 and there is no 
reason why the country should not supply its own needs 
at an early date. The industry is protected by a duty on 
imported copper and the price of copper in Russia is high in 
consequence. The rapid growth of the output dates from 
1907, when the Myed (copper) Syndicate, which combined the 
companies and regulates the trade, came into existence. 

The Urals hold the first place ; then come the Kirghiz 
steppe and the Caucasus. These three regions produce over 
90 per cent, of Russian copper. In 1913 the Urals produced 
some 16,000 tons, the Caucasus 9,900, and Siberia 5,600. 
British capital has played an important part in the develop- 
ment of copper-mining. The Kishtim Corporation, a British 
concern, produces nearly half the copper in the Urals and 


more than one-fifth of the total Russian output. It is the 
only company in Russia which smelts its own ore and refines 
it at its own works. Next to the Kishtim rank the Bogoslovski 
works, which are the oldest in the Urals, having been founded 
by Demidov in the eighteenth century. There are other 
works in the Tagilski, Iset, and Sisertsk districts. Verkhoture 
is a considerable smelting centre. 

In the last few years diamond drilling, carried on by British 
firms, has revealed large bodies of copper-bearing pyrites. 
The Russians are adopting this method. Experiments are 
being carried out at one of the Ural works for saving the 
sulphuric gases given off during smelting. 

In the Kirghiz steppe at least 200 outcrops of copper have 
been located, mostly in the Karkaralinsk district. The 
deposits are rich and coal is abundant. The absence of 
railways makes it impossible to work anything but rich 
seams at a profit. The Spassky Company, which is now in 
British hands, and has recently acquired control of the 
Atbasar works, is by far the largest and most successful 
in this region, in spite of the difficulties of the conditions of 
working. In 1914 the output was 4,683 tons ; in 1915, 3,450 
tons. The construction of the Southern Siberian Railway 
should bring about a great improvement. There are also 
copper deposits in the Semipalatinsk region. 

In eastern Siberia copper has been found in the Minusinsk 
region, near Verkhne-Udinsk, and in the Argun and Onon 
basins, where, however, the veins are poor. In the Maritime 
Province there are deposits near Vladivostok which produced 
13 cwt. in 1911, as well as near Konstantinovskaya on the 
Suifun, and round Dzhigit Bay, where they contain as much 
as 80 per cent, of ore. Copper-ore has also been discovered 
near the mouth of the Kolima, at the confluence of the Big 
and the Lena, in the peninsula of Kamchatka, and elsewhere. 

GOLD 275 


Gold-mining is steadily declining in importance in western 

Sria, but in the east it is the one productive industry, 
as done more to open up remote districts than all the 
jration agencies. Nothing but a gold-rush could bring 
about the sudden rise of towns like Bodaibo or Zeya-Pristan. 

Extent of deposits. — The extent of the gold deposits in 
Siberia, but especially in eastern Siberia, is very imperfectly 
known. Gold is found in the alluvial deposits of many of the 
rivers, but only occasionally in sufficient quantities to repay 
working by old-fashioned methods. Areas suitable for dredg- 
ing extend for thousands of miles in the eastern provinces ; 
and if modern dredgers were employed, the results would be 
surprising. At present the chief centres of the industry are 
the Urals, the lands which belonged to the Imperial Cabinet in 
the Barguzin and Nerchinsk districts, the Zeya and Bureya 
basins and their neighbourhood, the Amgun system and the 
mines near Lake Chlya, and lastly the Olekminsk and Vitim 
goldfields on the Lena. Of these the Vitim mines are by far 
the most important, producing a quarter of the total gold 
output of the Russian Empire. The Lena drainage area is 
said to contain the richest alluvial gold district in the world. 

The principal areas of gold-bearing rocks in Siberia have been 
estimated as*follows : — 

sq. miles. 

Urals ...... 


Yenisei and Altai .... 


Transbaikal ..... 


Lena, Vitim, Vilyui .... 


Amur and Okhotsk .... 



This may be compared with the total area of gold-bearing 
rocks in the United States, including Alaska, of 265,000 square 

Output. — Between 1908-13 the average annual output of 
gold in Siberia was one and a half million ounces troy, with 
a marked tendency to decline, especially in western Siberia. 
The official estimates are not to be trusted. The amounts 

S 2 


received at the Government laboratories where the gold m 
smelted, especially in the east, are often double those recorded 
and a good deal of the metal never reaches the laboratories 
at all. The official estimates are as follows : 



lb. troy. 

lb. troy. 
















Private laboratories 



figures for the Yek* 

tterinburg, Tomsk, and 


laboratories for these years are not to hand. 

In 1913 the eight Government laboratories of Siberia 
smelted 106,901 lb. troy of gold ore compared with 104,155 lb. 
in 1912. The increase was due entirely to the settling of 
the Lena strike. Bodaibo produced 7,200 lb. more than in 
the previous year (1912), when the output was 24,704 lb. 

Conditions of working. — With the exception of Alaska, 
Siberia is the least favourably situated of the world's gold 
centres. Owing to its climate, work is only possible in summer. 
Most of the gold is found in places where the ground never 
really thaws. If the summer is dry, there is not enough water 
for washing ; if it is cold and wet, the ground does not 
thaw and floods are troublesome. Population is everywhere 
scant}^ and roads almost non-existent. The cost of bringing 
machinery, especially in summer, from the railway to the 
diggings is almost prohibitive, while the prices of the most 
ordinary necessities of life are doubled and trebled. 

Concessions. — No foreigner may possess freehold property 
in Siberia, and a special tax of 8 per cent, is levied on land 
or mining claims leased to foreigners, who may not prospect 
for gold within 100 versts (66 miles) of the sea-coast of the 
Primorsk Province or of the shores of the Sea of Okhotsk, 
upon Sakhalin or the adjacent islands, or within certain 
districts of the Yeniseisk Province bordering on the Chinese 

GOLD 277 

frontier. In this region foreigners have considerably less 
freedom than Russians, as well as in the Cabinet lands in the 
Altai and Nerchinsk districts. But even here a foreigner 
may receive special permits for prospecting. A prospector 
may stake out as many claims as he likes. One man has been 
known to possess over 750. But he must take measures for 
working them within a certain time. 

There is a large traffic in worthless claims. The local 
officials, to whom commissions must be paid, are often 
untrustworthy. Much foreign capital has already been lost 
in Siberian gold-mines and investors are chary of risking 

The principal British gold mining companies in Siberia are 
the Lena Goldfields, the Orsk Goldfields, and the Siberian Pro- 
prietary Mines. The Lena Goldfields held until 1915 over 
50 per cent, of the shares of the Lenskoie Gold Mining 
Company of Russia. They have now sold the greater part of 
their holdings. 

State of the Industry.— Except in the Urals and to some 
extent in the west, the gold worked in Siberia is still almost 
entirely alluvial. Though rich quartz deposits are known 
to exist, quartz mining could only be profitably carried on 
at a few places in the west. But when the country is better 
developed there will be a great future for such mining. 

As the more accessible placers become exhausted, the 
general tendency is for large concerns to supersede small ones. 
More scientific methods are now essential to success. Dredgers 
alone can work profitably and they are not easy to procure. 
The Russians have little practical knowledge of mining and 
can only make the richest claims pay. The incapacity of the 
Russian engineers and workmen, many of whom have never 
seen a dredger, accounts for the frequent breakdowns and 
poor results. When dredging is regularty established and 
thoroughly understood, many of the abandoned dumps will 
be profitably worked. The latest methods of working- 
hydraulic sluices are unknown in Siberia, where the climate 
militates against their introduction. 


At present the Siberian gold industry is going through an 
unsatisfactory period of transition. The old methods are no] 
longer adequate and the new are only beginning to be intro- 
duced. In 1912, 57 mines out of a total of 129, belonging 
to 48 different companies, were working in the Amur district..! 
A committee of investigation was appointed and various 
suggestions were made such as the regulation of the labour- 
supply, the diminution of taxation and greater facilities for 
credit, as well as the throwing open of the 100 verst reserve 
along the coast. Owing to its accessibility, this region would 
rapidly attract prospectors. Between 1889 and 1909 mining 
machinery was imported duty free and the abolition of this 
privilege was undoubtedly a blow to the gold industry. In 
recent years the Government proposed to assist it by voting 
large sums for prospecting and for building a number of 

But the success of companies with large capital and good 
machinery, such as the Lenskoie and the Orsk, shows the lines 
along which the gold industry will ultimately develop. It is 
noteworthy that American engineers are more successful than 
British, who have gained their experience in South Africa and 
know nothing of the conditions of Russian mining. British 
companies are now employing them. 

Labour. — The labour-supply lies at the root of the diffi- 
culties. Railway building attracted a number of miners and 
the Government is doing its best to exclude the Chinese 
wherever possible. A man who could prove that he had 
worked on the gold-fields was exempted from military service 
in the present war. The life of the miner is hard in the 
extreme. He is as often as not obliged to work in water. 
Except in a few of the largest concerns, the workpeople are not 
well treated. They are provided with firing and lodging, but 
their quarters are often badly overcrowded and invariably 
filthy. The managers are tyrannical. The men are com- 
pelled to buy at the company's stores. If they complain or 
threaten to go elsewhere, they are liable to be dismissed. 
It is true that a law of 1902 declares that the labourer is to 

GOLD 279 

have suitable quarters and to be supplied with food and 
clothing at special rates, which vary in different districts. 
But the scandals revealed by the Lenskoie strike show how 
easily these regulations can be evaded in the remoter districts. 
The mine stores are often more profitable to the owners than 
the mines themselves. When the lot of the Siberian miner 
is contrasted with that of the well-paid, well-fed miners of 

• Alaska gold-fields, it is not surprising that the work does 
attract the most desirable elements. The miners are 
tinually running away. The building of the Amur Railway 
has greatly thinned their numbers. The sale of alcohol is 
absolutely prohibited, though a small quantity is distributed 
free to the men. But there is a large illicit traffic in liquor, 
which the mining police are unable to check. 

All gold visible to the naked eye is the property of the 
workman who discovers it and he receives 75 per cent, of its 
value. This unprofitable arrangement has been adopted to 
discourage theft. In their spare time the men may wash 
for themselves, on condition that they sell their gold to the 
companies at a fixed price. Indeed, many companies 
habitually leave all but the richest ground to be worked by 
private individuals, generally Chinese or Koreans in the 
eastern provinces, who pay a rent of gold to the owners and 
sell them whatever additional gold they may procure at fixed 
rates. This arrangement is very profitable to the companies. 
But there is, of course, a large ilLcit gold trade for which the 
sellers of contraband plcohol are largely responsible. It is 
smuggled over the border by Chinese, who also smuggle in 
Chinese spirits. At a recent mining congress it was said that 
in the Transbaikal, where most of the gold-mining is in the 
hands of Chinese and Koreans, they carry away seven times 
as much as they declare. This may well be an exaggeration, 
but it throws much light on the prevailing state of affairs. 

Urals and Western Siberia. — Gold-mining is on the decline 
in these districts. As everywhere else in Siberia, dredgers 
are becoming more and more necessary for successful placer- 
mining, but the Ural fields are held to be of low grade. In the 


more accessible districts quartz -mining is steadily superseding 
alluvial mining. In the Urals gold procured by quartz- 
crushing and saved by chemical processes already exceeds the,' 
gold obtained by washing. In 1913 the Urals produced 
110,000 oz. troy of gold, worth £399,208. The Orenburg and^ 
Yekaterinburg districts are the richest. The mines in the 
Miyas district still hold the first place in the Urals. The SissertS 
Company and the Kishtim Corporation both obtain gold as] 
a by-product in their copper-mines. 

In the Semipalatinsk Government there is considerable 
activity in gold-mining, but here too placer-mining is giving 
way to quartz -mining. The quartz veins are especially rich 
in the neighbourhood of Ust-Kamenogorsk, less so round 
Lake Zaisan. Near Ust-Kamenogorsk the quartz yields 
nearly 5 to 15 dwt. to the ton, but the gravel produces barely 
5 grains to the ton. Hence, in spite of the cheapness of 
labour, placer-mining can hardly pay. The richest mines lie 
40-46 miles south-west of Ust-Kamenogorsk. As this district 
is within the zone closed to foreigners, they can only prospect 
there by special permission and the native owners are fully 
aware of the value of their holdings. There is a good steppe 
road from the mines to Ust-Kamenogorsk. 

The gold-industry in the Tomsk district is in full decline. 
Even the introduction of hydraulic machinery has failed to 
revive placer-mining in the Altai. A British company is 
experimenting in mining for gold in the old cabinet silver- 
mines in the neighbourhood of Zmyeinogorsk in the same 
region, and if it succeeds it will certainly extend its operations. 
The only prosperous gold-mining region is that of the Mariinsk 
taiga. The first dredger in western Siberia was established 
here. The output of placer-mining is falling off, but rich veins 
have been discovered in the quartz of the Berekul mine. 
These are being worked, and, according to official returns, 
they yielded in 1904 about 1 oz. troy to the ton. The veins 
had not then been thoroughly examined. The mines are 
well situated, being 45 miles from the railway and 65 from 

GOLD 281 

Yeniseisk Province. — In the south-west corner, near the 
I River Abakan, are several mines. Of these the Bogom- 
I Darovanni, fitted with thoroughly modern machinery, is very 
rich. It is one of the few profitable reef gold mines in Siberia 
and it produces some 17,100 oz. troy of gold annually, a 
quarter of the amount being obtained by the cyanide 

The introduction of dredgers has revived the gold-industry 
in the Yenisei basin, which was the oldest in Siberia. The 
southern portion of the district lies between the Pit and the 
Angara Rivers ; the northern is to the east of the Yenisei, in 
the upper basins of the Teya and the Kalami, tributaries of the 
Stony Tunguska. The pay-streak is from 2 ft. 4 in. to 8 ft., 
I the overburden from 2 ft. 4 in. to 24 ft. The district is 
remote, but the mine owners refuse to combine to build a road 
| through the taiga, though the cost of transport is at present 
very heavy. Many of the mines in the south are connected by 

Irkutsk Province. — There are no mines of importance south 
of the railway. The Olekma-Vitim system embraces all but 
a negligible quantity of the mining. 

The Bodaibo district is the most important gold-mining 
centre in the Russian empire. The powerful Lenskoie Com- 
pany, formerly controlled by British interests, has a virtual 
monopoly. It produces some 13 tons of gold a year, which 
is a quarter the annual output of the whole empire. The gold 
is alluvial. The pay-gravel lies from 50 to 150 ft. under the 
surface and the streaks are from 4 ft. 8 in. to 9 ft. 4 in. thick. 
The over-burden is peat. The placers can only be worked 
with considerable capital. Wood is scarce in the neighbour- 
hood and the subsoil water requires careful regulation. The 
yield of gold is from 82 to 205 grains to the ton of gravel. 
About 4,000 men are employed here and up-to-date machinery 
is used. The transport difficulty adds greatly to the working 
expenses, but there is now a light railway 15 miles long from 
Bodaibo to the Vitim. It costs Is. to bring 12 lb. of goods 
from Irkutsk to Bodaibo alone. Hence the mining companies 


are among the chief advocates of the building of a railway to J 
the Lena. 

Most of the tributaries of the Vitim are thought to contain 
gold, but they have been very imperfectly explored. 

The Olekminsk mines were formerly the richest in Siberia,* 
but since the best placers have become exhausted they have' 
been thrown into the shade by the mines on the Vitim. The 
River Bo^hoi-Patom, one of the richest centres on the Lena, 
is said to have yielded 14,000 oz. troy of gold in 1911 and the 
whole of its banks have been staked out in claims. The : 
building of the Lena Railway would undoubtedly initiate a 
new period of prosperity for this region. 

Gold has been found on the upper reaches of the Vilyui 
and its tributaries. The gold-yield at Chodinski, some 80 or 
90 miles above Krestyatskaya, is said to be large. Gold also 
exists on the upper reaches of the Nai, a tributary of the 

The government assaying and gold-smelting laboratory is 
at Bodaibo. 

Transbaikal. — There are two important centres, Barguzin 
and Nerchinsk. The Barguzin goldfields lie in the Barguzin 
valley and near the sources of the Vitim, but of recent years 
the output shows a considerable falling off. Though the gold- 
yield is sometimes 41 to 82 grains to the ton, the veins are 
very small and there is a quantity of silver mixed with the 
gold. Belgian engineers are trying the experiment of thawing 
the ground here by a process of steam heating. 

Gold is found almost everywhere in the crown lands in the 
Nerchinsk district, except in the south-east and north-east. 
The mines possess the same characteristics as those round 
Barguzin. British companies have been experimenting lateh 
with a view to leasing. Attempts to introduce the mos 
modern machinery have not been very successful owing 
climatic difficulties. The output of the Transbaikal was aboi 
171,000 oz. troy in 1909. 

Amur Province. — For mining purposes the Amur Provin< 
is divided into two districts, the Bureya and the Amur. At 

GOLD 283 

present the former is the more important. In 1911 these 
districts produced £443,830 of gold, of which five-ninths came 
from the Bureya. The Amur goldfields are of far greater 
extent than those of the Lena. Alluvial gold has been found 
throughout the basins of the Zeya and its tributaries, and in 
the Bureya basin, especially upon its tributary the Niman. 
New deposits were discovered during the building of the 
western section of the Amur Railway. 

Most of the Amur gold is so fine, yielding from 0-04867 to 
0-13114 oz. troy to the ton of gravel, that only the best 
machinery could make mining profitable. A quarter of the 
diggings worked yield over 40 grains of gold to the ton, but 
the pay-gravel is often less than 2 ft. 4 in. deep, sometimes 
even less than 7 inches. When the yield is less than 40 grains 
to the ton, and the pay-strata are less than 2 ft. 4 in. thick, 
profit is very doubtful. These strata often lie under an over- 
burden of 9 ft. or more, and in some places, notably on the 
Niman, the mining is underground. 

Holdings are often very large in the Amur Province. The 
Upper Amur Company owns goldfields in the Rivers Zeya, 
Zhalinda, Gilui, and Aldan. At least a third of those worked 
are sub-leased. Little machinery is used. The Orsk Company 
has claims on the lower Amur. 

Zeya-Pristan, with a government gold laboratory, is the 
flourishing capital of the Zeya gold industry. Blagovyesh- 
chensk, at the mouth of the Zeya, also possesses a laboratory. 

The opening of the Amur Railway should greatly benefit 
gold-mining in this region. 

Maritime Province and Kamchatka. — The Primorsk region 
is the wealthiest. In the Amgun basin, near Kerbinski, the 
mining is all surface mining. The pay -gravel is from 4 ft. 8 in. 
to 7 ft. thick, the over-burden 3 ft. 6 in. to 14 ft. Owing to 
the nearness of the coast and the scarcity of labour machinery 
is much more used. But difficulties of communication and 
the dearness of food make a high yield of gold necessary for 
success. The Amgun mines were long worked at a loss. The 
Orsk mines, owned by a British company, situated on Lake 


Ohlya, near Nikolaevsk, are now the most successful in the| 
neighbourhood. Two powerful electric bucket -dredgers are 
working, and the profits, even during the war, have steadily J 
increased. In 1912, 21 placers were being worked here, and 
the mines were responsible for a quarter of the £216,604 of 
gold produced by the province. 

The Ussuri district comprises the southern part of thel 
province, and here Chinese and Koreans have long ago 
exhausted the more accessible deposits. In 1911, £6,818 of \ 
gold was produced, in 1912 only £1,916. Recently, however, \ 
placers have been discovered on the Iman, which are estimated 
to yield £1 per ton of gravel. A small quartz vein on Askold 
Island near Vladivostok was profitably worked for some years. 

The official gold-smelting laboratory for the Maritime 
Province is at Nikolaevsk. 

Gold is known to exist at many places on the Sea of Okhotsk, 
and is said to exist in the centre of Sakhalin. A gold-bearing 
belt is believed to extend for some 120 miles along the Okhotsk 
coast between the Uda and Ayan. Rich deposits are reported in 
the Anadir region, in the Chukchee Peninsula near Cape Dezh- 
neva, and on the River Volshaya in the Anadir region. The 
Volshaya mines have remained idle since 1907, but the deposits 
are said to contain about 240 grains of ore to the ton of gravel, 
and might therefore be profitably worked, in spite of the 
remoteness of the region and the absence of wood. A large 
expedition was sent out in 1914 with a view to reopening them. 


The output of silver in Russia reached its zenith in 1887, 
with 33,800 lb. troy. In 1910 the output was 19,476 lb. : 
Urals, 13,356 lb. ; Caucasus, 5,508 ; Altai, 612. The fall in 
the value of silver, the discovery of rich goldfields, and the 
labour difficulties, account for the diminution. In the Urals 
silver is produced chiefly as a by-product, notably in the 
Kishtim, Blagodat, and Verkhne-Iset mines. There are many 
other deposits. Over 3,000 deposits are known to exist in the 
Altai, of which only some 30 have been worked. The Zirya- 

GOLD 285 

novskoe mines are the richest, but even they are almost shut 
down. There are others in the neighbourhood of Zmyeino- 
gorsk. The silver-works in the Kirghiz steppes are very 
primitive. In the south-eastern portion of the Nerchinsk 
Crown lands 500 deposits of silver-lead ore are known to exist. 
The richest are the Kadainskoe, on a tributary of the upper 
Argun. Silver is also found in the zinc mines of Tyutikha Bay 
(see below). 

Zinc and Lead 

The zinc and silver-lead mines near Tyutikha Bay in the 
Priamur have been most successfully worked. In 1911 the 
output was 24,030 tons of zinc, 4,451 tons of silver-lead, and 
72 tons of copper ore. In 1912, 25,000 tons of zinc were sent 
to Europe, mostly to Antwerp, to be smelted. But the late 
Governor-General, Gondatti, insisted that henceforth the 
smelting should be done on the spot, and a smelting furnace 
was consequently built. The Tyutikha mines lie 24 J miles 
from Tyutikha Bay, with which they are connected by a 
railway of 60 centimetres gauge. The ore contains nearly 
50 per cent, zinc, little silver, and about 5 per cent, copper. 
Other claims are being taken up in the neighbourhood. The 
Tyutikha company has just located new deposits near Im- 
peratorskaya Bay. 

Zinc and lead ores are being mined in the Altai by the Irtish 
Corporation. From Riderski mine the ore is taken by a 3-ft. 
railway, 70 miles long, to Ust-Kamenogorsk, whence it is 
shipped by the Irtish to the smelting works at the Ekibas-tuse 
coalfield near Pavlodar. 

Zinc is also said to exist in the Yakutsk Province. Lead-ore 
has been found at Ust-Orlinskaya on the Lena, where the 
content is said to be 81-75 per cent, of pure lead. Silver- 
bearing lead also exists in the Altai and in the Nerchinsk 
district, but with the present means of communication it is 
not likely to be exploited. 

In 1915 eastern Siberia produced about 48,300 tons of lead, 
as compared with 30,000 tons in 1913. 



Ninety per cent, of the world's platinum comes from the 
Urals. But in spite of the high price the output has fallen 
from 99,820 oz. troy in 1912 to 79,000 in 1916. The richest 
placers are rapidly becoming exhausted, and the others can only 
be worked at a profit with dredgers. More than half the output 
comes from the Verkhoture region, notably from Tara River 
on the Tagilski estate. Platinum is found in some quantities 
on the Sosva and Lozva and other rivers. Traces of it occur 
in the Tomsk and Mariinsk districts, notably in the gold mines 
of the Chumish basin, in the Yeniseisk goldfields round the 
Pitski Mountains, near the Vitim goldfields, and on the Uni 
Bolski in the Amur Province. The natives in the Aldan 
valley are said to use it for bullets. Hitherto platinum has 
been sent abroad to be refined, but in 1915 an export tax 
of 15 per cent, ad valorem was placed upon unrefined platinum 
with a view to encouraging the erection of refineries at home. 


Asbestos is mined almost exclusively near Yekaterinburg, 
and before the war was virtually all exported to Germany and 
the United Kingdom via Riga. The output in 1913 was 
16,661 tons. In the Irkutsk Province asbestos is only worked 
in the Angara district. The quality is good. On the Mongol- 
Dabanski gold-placers, which belong to the Crown, but are 
now worked out, there are very rich asbestos and mica mines. 
They are on a tributary of the Didi, which is a tributary of 
the Oka, and are 75 miles from Ziminskoe. In Yeniseisk there 
are asbestos mines on the left of the River Kamishta, a trim 
tary of the Abakan. The asbestos lies in dolomite veins up 
4 \ ft. in thickness, but only one-seventh is of commercial value 
It is found also on the River Karagan in the same government 
in the Altai ; 150 miles south of Biisk, on the Katun ; ii 
Transbaikal near Shilkinski ; and in the neighbourhood of the 
Nerchinsk tin-mines. 


Hard and clean graphite has been found in considerable 
quantity near Turukhansk on the Yenisei, and 130 miles west 
of Irkutsk, on the Mongolian border, as well as in the Kirghiz 
steppe. Graphite of excellent quality comes from the neigh- 
bourhood of Cape Dezhneva. It also exists on the Lower 
Tunguska, near the River Bukhalova and near Souznaya on 
the Amur. But nowhere is it exploited to any extent. 


Mica is found in the Krasnoyarsk region, but has not been 
systematically worked, at Kandakova on the River Tasyeeva, 
a tributary of the Angara, as well as on the River Kan near the 
mouth of the River Varga. It is also reported in the Nizhne- 
Udinsk district, and on the Mama, a tributary of the Vitim. 
On the southern shore of Lake Baikal the quality of the 
mica found is good and the pieces usually large. 


A belt of large petroleum-bearing rocks about two-thirds of 
a mile wide stretches along the shores of Lake Baikal as far 
north as Barguzinski Bay. In Sakhalin naphtha springs exist 
near Niski and Nabilski Bay, close to harbours accessible to 
sea-going vessels. There are lakes of petroleum near the 
Nutovo River, and petroleum which flows of itself has been 
discovered at a depth of 1,000 ft. A larger oil-sand should be 
reached at 2,000 ft. The oil is said to be without benzine, and 
it can therefore be used for fuel immediately. Expert opinion 
compares it favourably with that of Baku. 

Other Metallic Ores 

Tin of good quality has been found near Nizhne-Sharonai, 
Olovyannaya, and elsewhere between the Onon and the Ingoda, 
but it is little worked. There is every sign that this region is 
a genuine tin district. The Government recently was said to 
be installing here the first tin-smelting works in Siberia. 


Antimony. — The important antimony deposits at the Ak- 
hatolskaya mines in the Urals are being carefully investigated. ' 
Antimony also exists in the Urals near the Verkhne-Neivinsk 
works and in the silver mines 10 miles north of Blagodat. It 
is found in several mines in the Yeniseisk Government, and in 
more than one river in the Minusinsk district; In the Trans- 
baikal a spring near the Kadainskoe silver mines is known as' 
the antimony spring. Antimony deposits stretch along the 
mountain top 7 miles from Zabilovo in the Amur Province. 
The vein reaches a thickness of 3| ft. 

Mercury. — Quicksilver has been discovered in the Verkhne- 
Iset district in the Urals ; the veins seem numerous and rich, 
but have not been fully investigated. Deposits of cinnabar 
are said to exist near Lake Ayamskoe. Cinnabar also 
occurs in the Bogoslovski district ; at Ildekanski, in the valley 
of the Urov, a tributary of the Argun, where the vein is rarely 
more than 2 inches thick ; in the Amga basin and in Kam- 
chatka. But it has not been worked in these regions. 

Radium has been found on the Ayakhta, a tributary of the 
Pit, which flows into the Yenisei. The Kamchatka province 
is believed to have deposits of iridium, palladium, and osmium. 
Thorianite has been discovered in the black slimes of the 
placers on the River Boshagoch in the Nerchinsk region. Rich 
deposits of wolfram exist in the Urals and near Klyuchevskaya 
on the Ingoda, and near the Onon in the Transbaikal. 

Manganese is found at Nizhne-Tagilski and elsewhere in the 
Urals, and is said to exist in the valley of the Angara. Molyb- 
denum is found in the Kirghiz steppe and Transbaikal. 

Osmiridium occurs in the Kishtim mines in the Urals, in 
the Nizhne-Udinsk district, in the Dzhila river system in 
the Transbaikal, and in the gold-placers of the Troitskosavsk 
district. It is nowhere regularly worked. 


There are large deposits of coal in Siberia, but most of it 
is only of small importance. Many of the deposits, however, 

COAL 289 

are not yet worked, and it is probable that some of the coal 
in eastern Siberia will prove to be of good quality. In many 
coalfields the want of a local market prevents extensive 
exploitation. While the population is scattered, as it is in 
most parts of Siberia, and while timber is abundant, coal 
cannot be produced cheaply enough to be used as fuel except 
in the immediate neighbourhood of the beds. The railways 
are the great consumers, and are steadily increasing their 
demands. Manufacturing industry is still too little developed 
in Siberia to require great quantities of coal, and export is 
economically practical be only from the coalbeds of the far east. 

Urals. — Coal occurs on both flanks of the Urals. All these 
deposits are properly speaking in European Russia. The 
beds on the western side have been worked for many years, but 
those on the eastern side are only beginning to be developed. 
The wholesale destruction of forests, and consequent increased 
demand for, and enhanced price of coal makes it probable that 
these deposits will play an important part in the industrial 
activities of the Ural region. Unfortunately, however, this 
coal will not coke, and is therefore useless for metallurgical 
works. Hence coal is imported from the Donetz region of 
southern Russia. In 1914 the production of coal in the Urals 
was 1,170,412 tons, and was increasing annually. On the 
other hand, in some factories peat is being used as fuel, and 
machinery for compressing peat has already been installed in 

On the lower Ob in the neighbourhood of Berezov is an 
extensive coalfield, but up to the present this has not been 

Kirghiz Steppe. — East and west of the Pavlodar-Karkara- 
linsk road are a number of coal outcrops which point to the 
existence of large deposits apparently scattered in isolated 
basins of small size. Only the Karagandinsk mine, 134 miles 
north-west of Karkaralinsk, which supplies the Spasski copper 
works, at present possesses commercial importance. The coal 
has moderate coking qualities, but gives nearly 40 per cent, 
ash. The seams are from 3 to 20 ft. thick. The Ekibas-tuse 


mine is being worked on a large scale, and a railway has been 
built to the Irtish, by which zinc and lead ores are brought for 
smelting from Riderski in the Altai. The coal is coking coal, 4 
and there are two seams of variable thickness which have been 
traced for over 4 miles at a depth of about 400 ft. The lower 
seam has little ash. The output in 1917 was 80,000 tons. 
The completion of the Southern Siberian Railway will give 
increased importance to these mines. They are owned by 
a British company, the Irtish Corporation. 

Kuznetsk. — The Kuznetsk beds, in the Altai region, extend 
from Sudzhenka on the railway to 40 miles south of Kuznetsk. 
On the west they reach the Ob in places, on the east the slopes 
of the Ala-tau Range. The total area is estimated at about 
5,000 sq. miles. The quality varies considerably in different 
parts of the beds. Floods and the irregularity of the seams 
cause trouble at the State mine at Anzherski. The seams, ten 
in number, are from 3 to 45 ft. thick. The Sudzhenka coal, 
which is coking or semi-anthracite, is taken almost entirely 
by the railway. Small quantities only are sent down the Tom 
for local use in Tomsk from the Kolchugino mine, which sup- 
plies the inconsiderable needs of the ironworks in the neigh- 
bourhood. The shaft here is 25 ft. deep. A French company 
working this coalfield failed, and there is now no mining. The 
Yurga -Kolchugino Railway, now extended to Kuznetsk (see 
Chapter XVII), should at last make it possible to exploit these 
valuable coal beds. 

Cheremkhovskoe. — Important beds of coal lie round Cherem- 
khovskoe, 70 miles west of Irkutsk. They produce nearly 
5,000,000 tons annually. The coal is mainly lignite, and 
much inferior to that of Kuznetsk. The beds cover about 
90 sq. miles, and lie at a depth of more than 98 ft. The seams 
are horizontal with an average thickness of 9 ft. The railway 
is the chief consumer. Coal is used in the electric works in 
the town of Irkutsk, but not for heating purposes in private 

Yenisei and Lena Basins. — There are also considerable 
deposits in the Yenisei valley near Dudinka and in the Minu- 

COAL 291 

sinsk region. There are said to be deposits in the Lower 
I Tunguska and Chulim valleys. In the Lena valley coal has been 
located at a number of places, throughout its middle course 
and as far north as Bulun. On the west side of the Lena the 
deposits extend beyond the mouth of the Markha, a tributary 
of the Vilyui ; on the east side along the Aldan, beyond the 
mouth of the Maya. The coal, which is of recent origin, is not 

Transbaikal. — In the Transbaikal a number of coal deposits, 
mainly lignite, have been located ; along the shores of Baikal 
with outcrops near the lake, and in the valleys of the streams 
round, including the Uda and the Chikoi ; at seven points 
in the valley of the Khilok and at two near Lake Gusinoe. 
A seam near Pereemnaya, on the south-eastern shore of 
Baikal, is worked for the lake steamers, but the output is 
small. Large lignite beds exist in the valley of the Ingoda. 
one being at Novaya-Kuka, only 4 miles from the railway. 
Goal also occurs at several points in the valleys of the Shilka, 
Onon, and Argun. The deposits on the Argun have not been 
explored, but as the region where they occur is treeless, they 
may be of importance. About 1,500,000 tons are produced 
annually from these deposits along the Transbaikal Railway, 
but the quality is inferior, giving only half the heat of the 
Cheremkhovskoe coal. 

Amur Province. — Coking coal of fair quality has been found 
about 30 miles from the mouth of the Dep, a tributary of the 
Zeya, on its right bank, but the amount seems to be small. 
In the Bureya valley several deposits of better quality have 
been found. 

Extensive deposits of brown coal have also been located at 
several places along the Amur and the Amur Railway, notably 
near Khabarovsk. 

Maritime Province and Sakhalin. — There is much coal, 
mostly of a poor quality, in the Maritime Province. Of 
27 deposits 10 are being worked. The principal sources 
are a large lignite mine near Vladivostok, yielding upwards 
of 200,000 tons annually for the railway, a couple of small 

T 2 


mines on Amur Bay, the Government mines at Suchan, 
60 miles from America Bay, and the Due, Alexandrovsk, 
and other mines in Sakhalin. 

The Suchan mine, which supplies the Government require- 
ments, is run at great expense and on non-economical lines. 
It is connected with the Ussuri Railway by a branch 93 miles 
long, but this can handle only 133,000 tons at most in a year.] 
The output rose from 105,496 tons in 1908 to 206,783 in 1912. 
The quality of the coal for steam-raising has been much 
criticized and its calorific value is comparatively low. The 
coal is of three sorts, bituminous, anthracite, and coking, the 
percentage of volatile matter being respectively 27 to 30, 
6 to 8, and 22 per cent. It was expected that the briquette 
works on Golden Horn Bay would turn out 3,200,000 bri- 
quettes in 1914. There are said to be indications of both 
brown and anthracite coal along the coast of the Maritime 
Province as far north as de Castries Bay. 

A Government engineer, who has recently visited the 
Mongugai coal-field, which lies some 12 miles inland from the 
western shore of Amur Bay on the Mongugai River and is 
only 24 miles by land and water from Vladivostok, estimates 
that it contains some 5,000,000 tons of good anthracite coal, 
very similar to Welsh coal. The field is much cut up by 
eruptive rocks and heavily faulted. If a small harbour, with 
a narrow-gauge line, were built, 150,000 to 200,000 tons could 
be delivered annually at Vladivostok at a cost of about 10s. a 
ton, instead of the 18s. or more charged for Japanese coal, of 
which some 12,000 tons are imported into Vladivostok every 

Mines near Alexandrovsk in Sakhalin are connected to the 
sea by a railway 1\ miles long. 

The absence of a harbour has prevented the excellent Due 
coal from being worked on a large scale. In 1912, 24,322 tons 
were produced from five pits. The Government is putting the 
mines up for auction for 36 years on condition that the lessee 
shall build a harbour for general use. The mines could 
certainly produce large quantities of coal at a moderate 

COAL 293 

price if properly worked, as the seams are thick and lie hori- 
zontally, while timber is abundant. In quality it is said to be 
equal to Welsh coal. Excellent bituminous coal has also 
been discovered at the mouth of the Pilevo near the Japanese 

Kamchatka. — There is a large deposit of brown lignite at 
Baron Korfa Gulf, north of Kamchatka. Similar coal occurs 

*the shores of Gizhiga and Penzhina Bays, as well as at 
^ral places on the west coast of Kamchatka and elsewhere 
he Kamchatka province. 


The Urals produce about 20 per cent, of Russia's salt, in 
spite of the fact that the industry there is not developing 
rapidly. The Orenburg deposits are among the richest in 
Russia, which contains some of the largest salt-beds in the 

Salt is an important, but little developed, Siberian mineral. 
In the west it is chiefly found in a number of lakes in the 
Semipalatinsk territory, on both banks of the Irtish, in the 
Akmolinsk region and in the Government of Tomsk. The out- 
put varies considerably, as the deposits in the lakes depend 
on the weather. In 1911 the output of salt in western Siberia 
was 129,000 tons, one-sixth of the total output of the Russian 
Empire ; in eastern Siberia about 10,600 tons. 

In the Kirghiz steppe seven lakes are controlled by the 
Government and leased for working. All the other lakes of 
the region, many hundreds in number, are left for the use of the 
Kirghiz, but the salt they yield is less pure in quality. Most of 
them could only produce pure salt by the artificial basin system. 
Chief among the reserved lakes are the five west of Pavlodar, 
of which by far the most important is Lake Koryakov, 12 
miles from the town. Its salt is considered the best in Siberia. 
In 1905 it produced over 32,000 tons. The method of procuring 
the salt is quite primitive, no machinery being used. Lake 
Karabas is another important salt lake, w T est of Semipalatinsk ; 


it supplies the needs of that town, as well as of Biisk, Zmyeino- ' 
gorsk and Zaisan. This lake also belongs to the State. The 
salt is collected in the most primitive way and loaded on to 

In the Tomsk Government, in the Baraba steppes, are a I 
number of salt lakes, of which Lake Burlinskoe, some 70 miles 
to the north-east of Pavlodar, is the most important. It 
produces by far the greater part of the output in this region. 
The salt is comparatively pure : it is used by the peasantry 
and in the fishing. industry on the Ob. 

Eastern Siberia abounds in salt, but the richest deposits 
of rock-salt and the best salt springs lie in districts too remote 
for profitable working. Most of the salt is obtained by 
evaporation from salt lakes, as, for instance, near Abakanskoe 
in the Yeniseisk Province. In this province evaporation 
produces 7,500 tons a year, about the same quantity as in the 
Irkutsk Province. The industry flourishes in Transbaikal, 
especially round Novi-Selenginsk, Ust-Kiranskaya, and Troit- 
skosavsk. There are a number of brackish lakes, of which 
Baruntorei is the largest, in the southern part of the district. 
Lake Borzinsk near the Chinese frontier is the only salt lake in 
the Nerchinsk district, and the salt does not settle there every 
year. The most important saltworks in Siberia are at Ussolye 
near Irkutsk on the Lower Angara. They produced 10,000 
tons in 1907. Work is only carried on in summer, owing to 
the cost of fuel. If the price of salt fell below about Id. per lb., 
it could not be produced at a profit. 

The Ust-Kutskoe works on the upper Lena have an output 
of some 1,600 tons annually for local use,but they areunfavour- 
ably situated. The salt is plentiful. Very large deposits 
of rock salt exist on the Vilyui and its right tributaries near 
Suntarskaya. The salt is contained in red clay and is every- 
where accompanied by gypsum. On the right bank of the 
Kyundyaya, a right-hand tributary of the Vilyui, salt forms 
two masses in a mountain of red clay and gypsum. During the 
spring floods some of its tributaries, notably the Kampents- 
zyaika, become quite brackish. At present there is no market 

SALT 295 

for thin excellent salt owing to the absence of means of com 

As many districts are totally devoid of salt, the Government 
keeps salt-depots for supplying local needs in the remoter 
regions of Siberia. 

Glauber's Salt. — In the northern portion of the salt lake 
system of western Siberia, i.e. on the Baraba steppe, the 
lakes always contain a considerable amount of salts other than 
common salt, principally sulphate of sodium (Glauber's salt). 

In eastern Siberia Glauber's salt is produced from Lake 
Doroninsk in the Barguzin district, and also from the exten- 
sive deposits in the Minusinsk region, close to the left bank 
of the Yenisei. Lake Doroninsk likewise contains vast 
deposits of sulphate of soda, which is also produced from a 
couple of small lakes in the south of the Achinsk-Minusinsk 
region, the Kiransk Lake in the Transbaikal, and in the 
neighbourhood of Verkholensk on the upper Lena. 

In the Tomsk Government hot mineral springs occur only 
in the mountainous districts. The Rakhmanovski and Byelo- 
kurikha springs, both in the Biisk region, near the Mongolian 
border, are the best known. The Transbaikal is rich in mineral 
springs, most of them cold. Very few of them have been 
exploited or even explored. They are especially numerous 
near the Shilka and in the Chita region. In Kamchatka 
mineral springs are likewise, common, their healing qualities 
being often appreciated by the natives. There are sulphur 
springs on the middle Lena. 

Precious Stones and Building Materials 

Marble and lapis lazuli are common in the Irkutsk and 
Transbaikal regions. Very fine lapis lazuli has been produced 
in the valley of the Malaya-Bistraya, a tributary of the Irkut. 
Marbles, garnet, asphalt, &c, are found along the Talaya 
and Slyudyanka, which flow into Lake Baikal. 

Ashirite, a rare kind of emerald, is found to the NW. of 
Karkaralinsk in the Kirghiz steppe and alabaster in the 
immediate neighbourhood of Semipalatinsk. 


The Transbaikal is the richest district for precious stones. 
On the ' granite mountain ' Adun-Chelonsk, near the conflu- 
ence of the Onon and the Borzya, topaz, beryl, aquamarine, 
tourmaline, crystals, and other stones have been found. Very 
fine topazes come from the Nerchinsk Range, between the 
Unda, a tributary of the Skilka, and the Urulyungui, a tribu- 
tary of the Argun. Neither of these districts is at present 
regularly exploited. Garnets in small crystals are also found 
on the Onon, 56 miles from Nerchinsk. On the eastern shores 
of Baikal, near Barguzin, there are fine rubies and almondines. 

The basins of the Byelaya, a tributary of the Lower Angara, 
and its tributaries, the Iret and the Onon, contain nephrite, 
which is highly prized by the Chinese. Some of the blocks 
weigh 9 or 10 cwt. There is nephrite near Cheremkhovskoe. 

Jasper exists near Zhigansk on the Lena. The jasper and 
porphyry of various colours from the Altai are celebrated. 
They come especially from the valleys of the Alei and Charish 
and are polished at the Kolivan works. From the eight 
quarries working in the Altai come porphyry, blue and green 
jasper, malachite, granite, marbles, breccia, smoky topaz, 
coloured quartz, agate, and chalcedony. 

Near Olgi Bay is a mountain said to consist entirely of 
marble, to which a railway has been projected. Marble is 
also found on the upper Yenisei, on the southern and eastern 
slopes of Baikal, and in the basins of the Onon and the Argun. 

Lime, building-stone, and common clays are found almost 
everywhere. Eire-clay and fire -resisting sandstone are worked 
near the mines in the Kirghiz steppe and the Irkutsk Govern- 

Kaolin and white clay for porcelain are worked in several 
places in the Irkutsk Government. Felspar and quartz for 
glass factories are obtained from deposits in the Baikal 



Kustarni Industries — Factories — Chinese Industries in the Far East 

Kustarni Industries 

The characteristic industrial feature of western Siberia, as 
of European Russia, is the Kustarni (peasant or cottage) 
industry, performed in the houses of the cottagers, some- 
times as the winter or nocturnal occupation of an agricultural 
folk during the hours of their unemployment, sometimes as 
the main occupation of the inhabitants. Several of the old 
settlers have given up agriculture for peasant industries, but 
many of these industries are decaying, and the railway by its 
distribution of the commodities accelerates their fall. Some 
patterns remain traditional in one family for generations, 
and the older these traditions, the better and finer is the work 
produced. Those who are responsible for developing these 
industries, try as far as possible to revive the finer and more 
artistic work which has had a tendency to give way before 
cheaper and newer products. In eastern Siberia these 
Kustarni industries are less developed, and the more easterly 
the province the less is the degree of development. In the 
Kirghiz steppes, where there is a considerable amount of 
peasant weaving, the Kustarni trades flourish more among 
the Kirghiz than among the Russian inhabitants. The only 
exception is a kind of tanning industry established by recent 

In western Siberia it was estimated about ten years ago 
that there were altogether 13,000 factories, employing 33,000 
workpeople and producing about £4,000,000 worth of manu- 
factures. As these numbers include the bigger factories in 


some of the towns it shows that only about two people in 
one house are employed on the same thing. Usually all the 
inhabitants of one village are employed in the same industry, 
and even all the villages on one road will have one or two 
staple occupations. So on the road from Kurgan to Yaluto- 
rovsk all the many villages that the traveller passes manu- 
facture wool or leather. Some examples of Kustarni industries 
in western Siberia may be given. About Tyumen, a great 
centre of industry, the Kustarni manufactures are cooper- 
work, sieves, turned utensils, carts, furniture of a rough kind, 
sledges, pitch, the wooden parts of horses' collars, Russian 
ploughs, and in the Kamen volost of the same district carpet 
making, with bright flowers and animal patterns. The wool, 
colours, and designs are bought from traders — formerly 
vegetable colours were got from the Samoyedes, now aniline 
dyes are used : the Russians love bright colours. Round 
Turinsk and Tobolsk much carpentering work is done, but 
in Tobolsk fishing nets and carvings from mammoth ivory 
are also made, and in Turinsk anchors because of the fishing. 
Throughout south Tobolsk wool and skin products are manu- 
factured. At Kurgan and Turinsk they make plough-shares, 
at Ishim ropes and rough agricultural machinery, at Sama- 
rovskoe leads for the fishing-nets. Throughout the Tobolsk 
Government they make plaited bast- work, harness, skin 
boots, wool products, axles, distaffs, and troughs. In the 
Tomsk Government at Kuznetsk and Tomsk there are smiths 
and joiners, at Barnaul they make metal pots for milk and the 
special skin coats known as ' barnaulkas ', and at Biisk cedar- 
nut oil. 

The Ministry of Agriculture has tried to improve the 
technical knowledge of the peasant-workers by establishing 
educational workshops, of which there are now seven in the 
Tomsk Government, giving instruction in such things as 
weaving, furniture-making, carpentering, the manufacture of 
agricultural machines, cart-building, pottery, and tanning. 

In eastern Siberia labour is scarcer and dearer, and the 
standard of workmanship is much lower. In Irkutsk and 


Yeniseisk woodwork of various kinds comes first in importance, 
especially in the neighbourhood of the big towns ; second 
comes the dressing of sheepskins and wool products ; then 
weaving and metalwork, which are much less advanced 
About Yeniseisk there is pottery, and near Irkutsk boot- 
making. In Transbaikal coopers' work alone is of importance. 
In Yakutsk one special form of Kustarni industry should be 
mentioned, the fine work done in mammoth ivory by the 
Yakuts. In the Amur and Primorsk Provinces cottage in- 
dustries hardly exist at all, but the government is doing its 
best to organize them, as offering excellent employment, 
especially in the remoter districts, during the winter. In- 
structors are brought from Russia, schools are opened, and 
assistance is given in procuring raw material and organizing 
sales. It is thought that wooden articles for local use, such 
as furniture, sledge runners, &c, could be made at home. 
Charcoal burning, the dry distillery of wood products and 
the making of rough tools and pottery might be taken up, as 
well as weaving, coopering, tanning, and shoemaking. In the 
Primorsk seven workshops and schools have been or shortly 
will be established. In Amur and Primorsk £23,000 was to 
be spent in 1914 to promote these industries. 

In the towns bigger factories have grown up, some of which 
have been established for 70 or 80 years, as, for instance, the 
celebrated glass factory 28 miles west of Krasnoyarsk, estab- 
lished about 1840 and employing normally 400 and at special 
seasons 800 workmen. It is difficult to define very clearly 
the distinction between the Kustarni and bigger factories ; 
very often the same industry is carried on in both, or a factory 
may be merely an aggregation of Kustarni workers. The 
chief occupations of Siberian towns are distilling, brewing, 
tanning, soap and tallow factories, flour-milling, saw-milling, 
weaving, oil-milling, rope-making, glass-making, brick-making, 
pottery. In the Russian Far East the managers of factories 
are usually foreigners, especially Japanese, until the Russo- 


Japanese war. Skilled labour was supplied by the Chinese, 
unskilled by Koreans. The retail trade was chiefly in the 
hands of the Chinese. 

Distilling and Brewing 

The distillation of spirits, especially vodka, is the oldest 
and most firmly established industry in Siberia. Vodka dis- 
tilleries supply only the state, which has its own retail shops, 
and export a limited amount to other countries. There are 
about 60 distilleries in Siberia, of which the most important 
is at Semipalatinsk, in which in 1906-7 6,000,000 litres were 

Other important distilleries are in Kurgan, Tomsk, and the 
neighbourhood of Omsk. Spirits are distilled from rye, 
wheat, and potatoes. Before the prohibition of vodka Siberia 
could not satisfy its own needs under this head, but imported 
from Russia. There is a Kustarni industry in the distilling 
of samosidka (a kind of vodka) from corn, but this is only for 
local consumption. 

Breweries before the war were usually in the hands of 
Germans and Austrians. The chief kind of beer manufac- 
tured was a light lager beer of German type. Nearly all the 
towns of any importance have their breweries, producing 
between 600,000 and 1,200,000 litres per annum. The work 
is usually done in winter. The beer produced is of fair quality, 
like the ordinary Russian beers, but with a somewhat higher 
proportion of alcohol. Besides beer, mead and kvas are 
brewed. There are yeast factories at Omsk and Irkutsk. 

Animal Products 

Tanneries work both for local use and export. The largest, 
which are at Tyumen, work some 60,000 cattle hides and 
10,000 horse hides per annum. The next largest are at Biisk. 
The chief supply of raw hides for western Siberia comes from 
Kurgan, Semipalatinsk, Barnaul, and the great market for 
these commodities at Petropavlovsk. There are no tanneries 


in Mongolia ; so a considerable amount of finished products 
go into that country, some of which had previously been sent 
out of it as untanned hides. This constitutes much of the 
trade which passes from Biisk along the Chuya track. A 
resident at Kyakhta has bought a Tyumen tannery in order 
to facilitate the trade through Kyakhta. Other places where 
tanning is important are Petropavlovsk, Tomsk, Novo- 
Nikolaevsk, Barnaul, Zaisan, Omsk, Semipalatinsk, Zmyei- 
nogorsk, and Irkutsk. The Lena goldfield is largely supplied 
by leather from Ussolye near Irkutsk. Tanning is a fre- 
quent Kustarni industry as well. 

Tallow, soap and candles are a common industry, especially 
in Tobolsk and northern Akmolinsk. Export is made by 
rail to Russia, especially to Moscow, Petrograd, Kazan, and 
Urakovo. Ninety- three per cent, is exported in winter, for 
the packing expenses are less heavy then, as the use of casks 
is not obligatory. Petropavlovsk and Kurgan are the chief 
places of export. 

The Kirghiz cattle supply the material. The soap and 
candle factories supply the commonest sorts for local needs. 
For superior wax candles the church has a monopoly with 
factories in Tobolsk and Krasnoyarsk. The principal soap 
works are in Petropavlovsk, Omsk, Tomsk, and Blagovyesh- 

Other industries connected with animal products are wool- 
dressing, especially at Tyumen and Irkutsk, and weaving. 
The carpets of Tyumen have been already mentioned. 

Timber Products 

The saw-mills of Siberia (a very important industry) are 
described in Chapter XI. The carpentering and coopering 
are mainly Kustarni work. A paper factory in a village near 
Tyumen employs about 300 workpeople and has an output of 
about £30,000 worth. There is boat-building on the Tavda, at 
Tyumen and at Minusinsk. Carriage -building is an industry 
at Tomsk, and to some extent at Omsk and Irkutsk. There 


is an establishment for the preparation of railway sleepers net 
the railway station of Omsk. 

There are several match factories at Tobolsk, Tomsl 
Tyumen, and in the Biisk district. The Tomsk establishmenl 
is the best ; there 300 hands produced daily 350 chests 01 
32,000 boxes (1903). The other places employ about l(Kj 
hands. The phosphorus (where used) is obtained from works 
in Perm, the other materials being of local manufacture. I 
Siberia provides for itself in the match industry, successfully 
competing with Japan in the far eastern regions. 

Metal Foundries and Engineering Works 

Along the railway line are engineering works and works 
for repairing the railway. Next to the railway works the 
best equipped workshops are those attached to the technical 
high school in Tomsk and some industrial schools in Omsk 
and Irkutsk. River steamers and engines are built at Tyumen 
and Blagovyeshchensk. There is a bell-foundry at Tyumen, 
a brass-foundry at Barnaul, a nail factory at Irkutsk, and 
a factory of agricultural machinery (the superior kinds are 
imported) at Omsk. In eastern Siberia there are two iron 
and five copper foundries at Blagovyeshchensk, besides 
mechanical factories at Khabarovsk and Nikolsk-Ussuriski. 

Glass and China 

Bottle-glass, window-glass, and rough table-ware are the 
only glass manufactured in Siberia, the superior kinds being 
imported. The chief glass factory is the one mentioned above 
west of Krasnoyarsk, the workmen of which are Europeans, 
not Siberians. There are others near Kurgan, Biisk, Tomsk, 
Minusinsk, and Irkutsk. Some of these employ about 100 
workpeople. In the east there are two glass factories, one 
in the Amur Province and one in Nikolsk-Ussuriski. 

There is one large china and porcelain factory in Siberia, 
at Khaita, on the Byelaya, about 90 miles from Irkutsk. It 
produces some 483 tons of less fine ware for Siberian use only. 
A Moscow firm supplies most of Siberia. 


Brick, Pottery, and Cement 

Brickworks are very general near the Siberian towns. 
The brick factories are often worked by steam. Although 
the Siberian houses are built principally of wood, the founda- 
tions are generally of brick, and so there is a larger demand 
for bricks than might be expected. Prices range high : often 
about £1 for 100. In 1907 the principal steam brick -works 
were two in Tomsk, which produced three million bricks 
a year each, two at Krasnoyarsk, working much below their 
capacity, two at Irkutsk, which produced one to two million 
bricks, but of which one had suspended work. Other im- 
portant brick -works were in Omsk, Novo-Nikolaevsk, Cherem- 
khovskoe, and Aleksandrovskoe ; at these bricks were made 
by hand. 

Pottery is little developed. The peasants replace it with 
numerous substitutes of wood and bark, while blue and white 
enamel ware (Austrian and Polish) has considerable vogue. 
There are, however, potteries near Tyumen. The most im- 
portant pottery is at Polovinnaya on the Byelaya, 64 miles 
west of Irkutsk, where boats can reach the factory. The clay 
here is good. Cement works are found in Nizhne-Udinsk, 
where one produces about 50 tons annually. Two others in 
Transbaikal manufacture for local needs, and another was 
established in 1907 near the Ussuri Railway at the cost of 


Another large industry is the manufacture of vegetable oil, 
the milling of which goes frequently with that of grain. The 
oil is mainly from flax and hemp. Among the principal oil 
mills are one at Ust-Kamenogorsk for sunflower seeds, and 
one at Petropavlovsk, for linseed (500 tons per annum). 
Mills abound all over western Siberia ; from the Urals to the 
Ob they are mostly windmills, east of the Ob they are mostly 
watermills. In 1910 there were 1,041 oil-mills in the Tomsk 



A few important factories not otherwise classified may be 
mentioned. In Irkutsk and Khabarovsk are cigarette-case 
factories ; Irkutsk contains ten printing works (there are 
others at Omsk and Tomsk), two steam sausage manufactories, 
and a pearl-barley factory. Barnaul has a soda factory and 
a considerable rope factory with an output worth £2,500 a 
year, and there is another at Minusinsk. Usually rope- 
walks are a Kustarni industry. At Kolivan there are stone- 
polishing works which belonged to the Cabinet of the Tsar. 
Vases are fashioned of marble, jasper, and breccia, but the 
conditions of the industry are said to have remained primitive. 

Near Posiet Bay, Olgi Bay, and other bays in the Maritime 
Province seaweed is the basis of a valuable iodine industry. 
An iodine factory has just been built at Nakhodka Bay near 
Vladivostok, and in 1916 it was expected that 8,000 tons of 
the weed would be dealt with. It is now to be cut with 
hooks and not torn up by the roots. 

Chinese Industries in the Far East 
An edible seaweed, variously named, sometimes called 
' sea colewort ', is collected in the south of Primorsk, whence 
some 1,600 tons are annually sent to Japan and China, and in 
Sakhalin, whence some 2,700-3,200 tons are annually ex- 
ported. The quality depends on the drying, but as this must 
be done on stony ground, and as three days of sun without 
moisture are essential, the process is not easy. There are 
three qualities : the best from the Maritime Province goes to 
Shanghai, the rest to Chefoo. Mention has been made of the 
panty made from deer horns (see p. 56). To this should be 
added the gentian root which is found in the depths of the 
virgin forests along the tributaries of the Ussuri, and which is 
supposed by the Chinese to possess marvellous properties as 
a medicine. It sells according to its age, the older the more 
valuable, at £5 to £23 a pound. The Chinese have attempted 
to grow it in Russian territory, but the cultivated root sells 
for only 25s. a pound. America meantime exports £160,000 
worth of the root to China annually >, 



Timber — Agriculture and Stock-breeding — Mineral Wealth — Fur and 
Eider-down — Industry and Trade 


The most valuable asset of northern Russia in Europe is 
its forests. In the Government of Arkhangel, in 1897, it was 
estimated that out of 211,356,000 acres 81,000,000 were 
forest — the waste land amounted to 129,000,000 acres, while 
only 756,000 acres were available for agriculture. Along the 
Murman Railway there are great timber areas, mostly spruce 
and pine. As there is a good supply of water-power and 
•* white ' coal in the neighbourhood, these could be profitably 
exploited. Sawmills are the principal industry of this govern- 
ment, but their number might be indefinitely increased, and 
the material sawn up might be exported in its manufactured 
form : at present it is mostly logs and sawn wood that are 
exported. The carpentering that is done in the country 
only meets the needs of the local population (see p. 132). 
Sawmills have been erected at Keret and at other settlements 
along the White Sea coast, and also on Kola Inlet. Large 
timber concessions on the Pechora River were made in 1916. 

A cognate industry is the manufacture of pitch and tar, 
the most important occupation in parts of the Shenkursk 
district and in other parts of this government. This might 
be usefully developed. At present local conditions differ 
considerably ; the rate of taxation on the possessor of the 
woods varies, but is usually too high, especially in the extreme 
north, where the period of production is shortest. In the 
state lands of Arkhangel the peasants have certain privileges, 


e. g. free use of wood for heating the ' kettles ' ; in some: 
parts the by-products are taxed. When the country is 
deforested by the tar industry, care should be taken that; 
the cleared land is used for agriculture, and not allowed 
to decline into marsh-land. At present a large part of the; 
population are employed on this industry, but it needs 
fostering by supplying means of transport, lowering the 
taxes, arranging for a system of credit, introducing technical 
improvements and experimental stations, and securing that 
the wood left over is utilized in the sawmills of the north 
coast region. There are extensive works in the district of 
Velsk between Arkhangel and Vologda, where special atten- 
tion is paid to the production of tar. Pitch is exported 
principally to the United Kingdom from Arkhangel. 

Agriculture and Stock-breeding 
Agriculture is only remunerative in the Shenkursk district 
near the Vaga, in the southern portions of Kholmogor, Onega, 
and Pinega, and on the ' summer ' shore of the south coast 
of the White Sea. The principal crop is barley, to which 
a large proportion of the farm lands is devoted, and which 
is probably three times as extensive as rye, the next largest 
crop, which grows, however, up to Askino in the estuary of 
the Pechora. Oats and buckwheat are grown less extensively. 
The local harvests, however, only meet the needs of one- 
third of the population. Other crops of this region are 
potatoes, peas, beans, cabbage, turnips, carrots, spinach, 
sunflower, hemp (both mezenskaya and a larger kind), and 
flax. The Juravski expedition of 1909 reported most favour- 
ably on the prospects and present condition of agriculture 
in the northern Pechora district, adding that bad harvest 
there had never been remembered by the peasants. There 
a floating grain-elevator at Arkhangel, the only one in norther 

Cattle-breeding could be made very successful. Tl 
Kholmogor breed, established by Peter the Great, by int( 
breeding the local cattle with others introduced from Hollanc 


is famous for .its size, beauty, and milk-producing powers. 
The alluvial meadowland along the Northern Dvina, Mezen, 
and Pechora is good for cattle, and at small expense the 
swamps of the Arkhangel Government could be turned into 
land covered with rich grass. Of the 756,000 acres available 
for agriculture 540,000 were pasture land in 1897. There 
were at that date in the Government of Arkhangel 114,962 
cattle, 145,590 sheep, 52,109 horses. It is estimated that the 
as of this region feed nearly 300,000 reindeer. 

Mineral Wealth 

The mineral resources of the country are little developed. 
As long ago as the chronicles of 1558 gold was recorded in 
bhe sand of the Rivers Kola and Tuloma. There are traces 
Df silver, lead, and zinc everywhere on the Murman coast, 
and iron and copper are present elsewhere in the Kola 
Peninsula. Copper used to be worked centuries ago on the 
Tsilma, a tributary of the Pechora. Ores with 80 per cent, of 
lead have been found on the River Varsina. Coal is found 
near Onega ; naphtha in the Pechora district, and the Utkinski 
oilfields in the Cherdin district of Arkhangel are said to 
resemble those of Pennsylvania ; a railway projected from 
Bogoslovski to the White Sea will open them up. On the 
j summer ' coast of the White Sea there is found a rich clay 
for porcelain of a bluish-white colour. 

Fur and Eider-down 

The fur trade has decreased considerably, and in 1902 
serious measures had to be taken in order to preserve what 
was left of certain valuable animals, e. g. the ermine and the 
Arctic fox. In 1897 there were killed in the Arkhangel 
Government 386,771 wild animals, and 242,666 brace of 
birds, with a total value of £12,388. Much the largest number 
of animals were squirrels, viz. 384,189. In comparison the 
rest were negligible. Second in order came foxes, of which 
only 1,092 were killed. 

u 2 


Eider-down is obtained from Ainov Island, where the 
nesting-places of the ducks are protected. 

Industry and Trade 

Most of the industrial occupations of the inhabitants have 
been already recorded. Besides these should be mentioned 
the tallow industry which is strongest in the Kola district, 
and the chamois leather industry, which is strongest in the 
Pechora district. In 1897 the manufactures of the Arkhangel 
Government were worth £773,160. Among the industries 
were shipbuilding, leather, canvas, cordage (though most of 
the hemp is exported for the fleets of other countries), nets, 
and potash. 



Siberian Boundaries — Governments and Territories — Administrative 
System — Administrative Districts — Siberian Towns — Local Government 

Siberian Boundaries : Political and Geographical 

The governments into which the Russian Empire is divided 
disregard the geographical boundaries of Siberia. The 
governments of Perm and Orenburg, which are European, 
cross the Ural Mountains and include about 150,000 square 
miles of Asiatic Russia, and the south-west portion of Siberia 
is included in the general government of the Steppes (govern- 
ments of Akmolinsk and Semipalatinsk), which is administered 
from Omsk, and the northern portion of Turgai, which belongs 
to Central Asia politically, would geographically be assigned 
to Siberia. 

Governments and Territories 

The grouping of the administrative districts has constantly 
changed and further changes are imminent. The old division 
into Western and Eastern Siberia is given up ; Western Siberia 
used to consist of the governments of Tobolsk and Tomsk, 
while the other administrative divisions constituted Eastern 
Siberia. Now in all Siberia there are four governments 
(Gubemiya), Tobolsk, Tomsk, Yeniseisk, Irkutsk ; eight 
territories or provinces (Oblast), Yakutsk, Transbaikal, Amur, 
Maritime (Primorsk), Kamchatka, Turgai, Akmolinsk, 
Semipalatinsk (of which the last three belong to Central Asia 
and the Steppes), and one division, Sakhalin. Some of these 
are included under general governments : the general govern- 
ment of Irkutsk includes Irkutsk, Yeniseisk, Transbaikal, and 
Yakutsk ; the general government of the Amur (Priamur) 


includes Amur, Kamchatka, Maritime, and Sakhalin, and the 
general government of the Steppes includes Akmolinsk and 

The old Maritime Province is now divided at about 56° N., 
the northern part stretching thence to the Bering Strait being 
called Kamchatka ; it has also been decided to transfer the 
residence of the governor of Sakhalin (i. e. that part of the 
island north of lat. 50° N. which Russia has retained since the 
Treaty of Portsmouth, 1905), to Nikolaevsk, and to form a new 
district to be known as the Nevelski district, including together 
with northern Sakhalin the central part of the Udsk district 
in which Nikolaevsk lies. Also the boundaries of the Amur 
province are to be enlarged by the addition of the south-east 
portion of Transbaikal, and two new districts (Selemdzha 
and Zeya) are to be formed. 

Administrative System 1 

Tobolsk and Tomsk are administered on the same system 
as the Governments of European Russia, and the Eastern 
provinces will be administered similarly, with civil governors 
taking the place of military governors except in Kamchatka. 
Where the European system prevails there is a general adminis- 
trative council, presided over by the deputy-governor, 
directly under the authority of the Minister of the Interior. 
Over it presides a civil governor representing him, who is 
assisted by councillors nominated locally and approved in 
Petrograd. Usually the business is deputed to committees 
as below : 

(1) Under the Minister of the Interior — Department for 
{a) Urban Affairs, (b) Peasant Affairs, (c) Justice ; Prison 
Committee, Education Board, Land Valuation Staff, Public 
Health Department. 

(2) Under the Imperial Finance Minister — A local branch 
of the Imperial Treasury for assessing local and imperial taxes. 

(3) Under the Minister of Agriculture — Agricultural Organ- 

1 At the time of the Russian revolution in 1917. 


ization Committee, Local Immigration Committee, Land 
Survey Staff. 

(4) Under their respective central bureaus — Ministry of 
Trade and Commerce, Local Department of Justice, Local 
Military Authority. 

There are eight members elected to the Imperial Duma from 
Siberia by indirect vote. 

Each province is divided into uyezds (districts), each uyezd 
into volosts ; each volost into villages, those with a church 
being styled selo, those without a church being styled derevnya. 
Over the uyezd presides a uyesdi nachalnik, over the volost 
a zasidatil, over the village a starosta. 

Administrative Districts 

Tobolsk. Pop. (estimated 1913), 2,005,000. Area, 539,659 
square miles. Capital, Tobolsk. Districts : Tobolsk 
Tyumen, Kurgan, Tara, Ishim, Tyukalinsk, Berezov, Surgut, 
Turinsk, Yalutorovsk. Police divisions, 30; volosts, &c, 270, 
rural communities, 2,609 ; other settlements, 4,760. 

Tomsk. Pop. (estimated 1913), 3,919,000. Area, 331,159 
square miles. Capital, Tomsk. Districts : Tomsk, Barnaul, 
Biisk, Kainsk, Kuznetsk, Mariinsk, Zmyeinogorsk. Police 
divisions, 31 ; volosts, &c, 294 ; rural communities, 3,194 : 
other settlements, 3,350. 

Barnaul is the head-quarters of the Altai Administration and 
the centre of the ' Cabinet ' estates (i. e. belonging to the Tsar). 

Irkutsk. General Government. Capital, Irkutsk. 

Irkutsk. Pop. (estimated 1913), 733,000. Area, 287,061 
square miles. Capital, Irkutsk. Districts: Irkutsk, Balagansk, 
Kirensk, Nizhne-Udinsk, Verkholensk, Vitimsk. Police divi- 
sions, 25 ; volosts, &c, 116 ; rural communities, 579 : other 
settlements, 2,336. 

Yeniseisk. Pop. (estimated 1913), 982,000. Area, 987,186 
square miles. Capital, Krasnoyarsk. Districts : Krasnoyarsk, 
Achinsk, Kansk, Minusinsk, Yeniseisk, Turukhansk, Usinsk. 
Police divisions, 21 ; volosts, &c, 103 ; rural communities, 
1,639; other settlements, 1,464. 


Yakutsk. Pop. (estimated 1913), 328,000. Area, 1,533,397 
square miles. Capital, Yakutsk. Districts : Yakutsk, Olek- 
minsk, Sredne-Kolimsk, Verkhoyansk, Vilyuisk. Police divi- 
sions, 15 ; volosts, &c, 47 ; rural communities, 383 ; other 
settlements, 337. 

Transbaikal. Pop. (estimated 1913), 920,000. Area, 
236,868 square miles. Capital, Chita. Districts : Chita, 
Barguzin, Aksha, Nerchinsk, Nerchinski Zavod, Selenginsk, 
Troitskosavsk, Verkhne-Udinsk. Police divisions, 25 ; 
volosts, &c, 141 ; rural communities, 951 ; other settle- 
ments, 791. 

Amur (Priamur). General Government. Capital, Kha- 

Amur. Pop. (estimated 1913), 241,000. Area, 172,848 
square miles. Capital, Blagovyeshchensk. The government 
is military and divided into Cossack regiments and battalions. 
Police divisions, 7; volosts, &c, 23 ; rural communities, 325 ; 
other settlements, 259. 

Maritime Province (Primorsk). Pop. (estimated 1913), 
604,000. Area, 295,664 square miles. Capital, Vladivostok. 
Districts : Khabarovsk, Udsk, Ussuri Cossack, South Ussuri 
(Nikolsk-Ussuriski), Iman, Olgi. Police divisions, 19 ; volosts, 
&c, 47 ; rural committees, 941 ; other settlements 

Kamchatka. Pop. (estimated 1913), 39,000. Area, 503,777 
square miles. Capital, Petropavlovsk. Districts : Petropav- 
lovsk, Okhotsk, Gizhiga, Commander Is.,Chukotsk(Chukchee), 
and Anadir. Police divisions, 4 ; settlements, 254. 

Sakhalin. Pop. (estimated 1913), 14,000. Area, 15,334 
square miles. Capital, Alexandrovsk. The province is 
divided into two districts, Alexandrovski and Timovsk. 
Police divisions, 4 ; rural communities, 35 ; other settle- 
ments, 35. 

Steppe. General Government. Capital, Omsk. 

Akmolinsk. Pop. (estimated 1913), 1,492,000. Area, 
229,609 square miles. Capital, Omsk. Districts: Akmolinsk, 
Atbasar, Kokchetav, Omsk, Petropavlovsk. Police divisions, 


26 ; volosts, &c, 223 ; rural communities, 1,182 ; other 
settlements, 579. 

Semipalatinsk. Pop. (estimated 1913), 862,000. Area, 
184,631 square miles. Capital, Semipalatinsk. Districts : 
Semipalatinsk, Karkaralinsk, Pavlodar, Ust-Kamenogorsk, 
Zaisan. Police divisions, 20 ; volosts, 163 ; rural communi- 
ties, 1,094 ; other settlements, 608. 

Of the other provinces of the Steppe General Government, 
Uralsk does not concern Siberia, and Turgai does only in its 
north-east portion. 

The district of Uryankhai; round the upper waters of the 
Yenisei, is nominally part of Mongolia, but is 'under the 
Russian sphere of influence '. 

Siberian Towns 

Origin. — The old towns in Siberia are either, like Yaluto- 
rovsk, built on the site of some Tartar city, or, like Irkutsk and 
many others, they were originally stockaded forts erected to 
keep the natives quiet and to form the centre to which they 
brought their ' yassak '. Other towns have owed their origin 
to special conditions : so Yekaterinburg grew up in the 
eighteenth century as the centre of the Ural mining district, 
and more recently Bodaibo as a mining centre in the Lena 
country and Novo-Nikolaevsk as the place where the Siberian 
railway crosses the Ob. 

Appearance. — Siberian towns are seldom of an impressive 
appearance. Most of the private houses are of one story and 
of wood, though a disastrous lire in Irkutsk in 1879 led to an 
order that all further buildings in that city should be of stone, 
so that it has a more distinctive appearance. The public 
buildings and churches are usually of stone, and are often well 
built, and some fine cathedrals have recently been built. 
A common feature in Siberian towns is the triumphal arch, 
usually erected to commemorate the visit of some Tsar or 
Tsarevich. The bigger towns possess a number of schools, 
and there are several good libraries and museums. The 
bigger towns all possess theatres, and Krasnoyarsk has a very 


fine park. There are often good private residences of brick or 
stone. The shops, even when well stocked, make a poor 
display, as it is not customary to show the goods in the window. 
With but few exceptions the hotels are poor, except for the 
cuisine, and travellers have to bring their own bedding. 

In the older towns the centre often has irregular and winding 
streets, but the rest of the town is laid out with extreme 
regularity in parallelograms. The streets are broad : paving, 
where it exists, is of wood, and the sea of mud in the middle 
of the street engulfs (as at Khabarovsk) the cement with 
which it is attempted to give it a surface. The station is 
often at some distance from the town, and in its vicinity 
a considerable settlement usually springs up. 

Industry and Commerce. — Siberia is not a manufacturing 
country ; many of the factories, even in the towns, employ 
merely three or four hands ; but factories on a bigger scale are 
developing in some of the western towns. The commonest 
industries are tanning, soap-boiling, brick-making, milling, 
brewing, and the distilling of brandy or vodka. Near the 
mining districts there are also smelting works and laboratories 
for the assay of precious metals. Some towns owe their im- 
portance to the exchange of goods, and there are places 
especially where Europe and Asia exchange their goods as in 
Kyakhta, where the teas and furs of China are brought to the 
great exchange courtyard, and Petropavlovsk, where the 
materials and Asiatic goods of the Kirghiz steppe are brought 
to the historic Barter Court. The more southerly towns have 
weekly bazaars, and others have annual, or, more frequently, 
biennial fairs of great importance. 

All important towns are described in the chapters on the 
various rivers in Volumes II and III. 

Local Government 
There have been since 1894 municipal Dumas in certain 
the towns. In these the citizens elect a town council (gore 
dkaya duma) whose term of office is four years ; and this 
turn appoints a board of aldermen (gorodskaya tiprava). Tl 


former is deliberative and legislative in its functions, the latter 
deliberative. Both boards are under the presidency of the 
mayor (gorodskoe golova). The electors are all who pay the 
apartment-tax (kvartemi nalog). 

The Mir. — The institution of Zemstvos, or provincial 
assemblies, has never been extended beyond European Russia, 
except in the Asiatic part of Perm. The great difficulty has 
been that Siberia is almost exclusively a country of peasants, 
and contains no educated or landowning class. The propor- 
tion of inhabitants who cannot read is very large, and to such a 
community an institution like the Zemstvo has been regarded 
as inapplicable. But since the emancipation of the serfs, in 
1861, the Mir (=' world'), or folk-moot of the village com- 
munity (a very ancient institution), has been organized, and 
has had self-government. It is the assembly of the peasants, 
and no one except a peasant can have a vote in it. With this 
body rests the allocation of village lands. It assigns to each 
family a hut and yard and a suitable amount of land, taking 
care that there is a proper proportion of arable, pasture, and 
forest -land. The average amount for each family is about 
40 acres, but an additional amount is assigned to each male 
member. A new division is made every fifteen years, and 
a majority of two-thirds can re-allot land. Since 1906 a peasant 
can hold his land in perpetuity. A certain amount is always 
set aside for common pasturage. The chairman (selsJci 
starosta) is elected annually — in some places triennially — by 
the male inhabitants, the widows, and the wives of absent male 
residents . The decisions of the Mir are allowed to be unanimous, 
a defeated minority withdrawing its opposition. The Mir 
has also judicial rights in petty cases. 

Powers of the Mir over individuals. — It is not usually an 
enlightened body, and it is apt to be a check on progress. Its 
traditional wisdom is likely to set itself against unfamiliar 
experiments in farming, and it puts obstacles in the way of 
free movement about the country, for it is afraid of losing 
the proportion of the taxes paid by the individual who wishes 
to migrate. It used even to send for members of the com- 


munity who had thriven in the towns and compel them to 1 
return under an armed escort to their native villages. Those 
who do migrate do not cease to be members of their Mir, 
and frequently one who has prospered in town life contmues % 
his membership of the village community and the payment | 
of his quota of the taxes. Taxes are low ; the total of the .■ 
direct peasant-taxes paid in the whole of the Yeniseisk 1 
Government amounts to £90,000, which works out atfl 
three shillings per head per annum. Custom allows the Mir I 
to prevent any one it chooses from sharing in its debates, and J 
the law permits this, provided such ostracism is not enforced | 
for more than three years. But there is a more extended } 
power that it exercises, for it can banish any undesirable | 
person from the community, which usually means in European 
Russia that such a one is sent to Siberia. In many years 
half the prisoners sent to Siberia have been so banished. 

Volost courts. — The Mirs are combined into volosts (cantonal 
assemblies) which elect an elder (starishna) and small tribunals j 
(volostnye sud) for settling certain civil and criminal cases, j 
The starishna (like the starosta in the Mir) is assisted in his 
decisions by a pizar (secretary), who often becomes the leading 
authority in the village, as the one person in an unlettered 
community who has any education at all. The pizar is usually 
out of touch with the peasant class by birth, habits, and educa- 
tion ; he is indifferent to their welfare, and, being ill-paid, 
is constantly on the look-out for means of improving his 
position. While the muzhiks (peasants) wear the national 
dress, the pizar emphasizes his importance by wearing ' Ger- 
man ' dress. In 1911 an attempt was made to get rid of these 
volost courts ; they were eventually retained, but put under 
the supervision of local boards of magistrates, who constitute 
in this instance courts of appeal. In the volost the vote is 
not necessarily unanimous, but there may be a majority. 
What is dispensed in these courts is patriarchal justice based 
on customary law. Civil cases involving less than the value 
of 100 roubles come within their competence, as also do more 
important cases, provided that both parties to the suit agree 


to such an arrangement. They can exact fines up to 3 roubles 
or inflict seven days' arrest. They are also charged with 
maintenance of order in the Mir and in the family. There is 
no appeal (other than in cases of banishment) against the 
volost-court, unless it has acted ultra vires. Such appeals 
are lodged before the assembly of rural surveyors. 

Other forms of lower courts. — Besides the volost-courts, 
which apply mainly to the normal Russian settler, there are 
other varieties of lower courts. In the military lands of the 
Cossacks there are stanichni courts, which deal not only with 
the affairs of the Cossacks, but with those of the tribes under 
their jurisdiction. The courts operate under the jurisdiction 
of the atamans of their districts. Appeals are lodged before 
the Cossack ' Provincial Economic Administration of the 
Cossack Armies '. The judges are elected by the Cossack 
assembly. In the Steppes the narodni court proceeds according 
to customary right (adat) or the written Musulman law 
(shariat). For the latter there exist special Musulman lawyers 
(mufti). These courts exercise extensive jurisdiction in civil 
and criminal affairs : e. g. they can punish theft with imprison- 
ment for a year and a half. The narodni judges (kazi-bii) 
are chosen at the three -yearly sessions of the volost delegates. 
They must be thirty -five years of age and must have certain 
educational qualifications. In the Buryat districts of the 
Transbaikal Province there are special tribal courts, which 
settle the affairs of the Buryats on the basis of existing Buryat 
customs, which are founded on the ground of old Mongol 
steppe laws. They have jurisdiction in certain kinds of civil 
cases, where there is no limit to the amount of claim ; in 
others the limit is assigned at £200 : in criminal cases they 
can inflict fines of £30 or imprisonment of six months 
for a first offence. There is an appeal against their decisions 
to the rural surveyors. They were established in their 
rights by a law of 1901. Among the more vagabond nomad 
tribes there are so-called verbal courts (slovesnaya raprava), 
in which the procedure is by word of mouth. Another system, 
called the Turkoman system, is employed in central Asia. 


Bureaucratic control of local government. — These democratic 
elements are counterbalanced by restrictions from a central 
and bureaucratic authority. There is a power of general 
supervision lodged in the ' district committee for the affair 
of peasants '. From 1899-1912 there were rural supervisors 
(zemski nachalniki), but their place has now been taken 
by the reformed cantonal courts, indirectly elected by the 
Mir s, whose jurisdiction is confined to peasant cases. The 
zemski nachalnik among other functions used to administer 
the zemski smet, i.e. that proportion of the imperial taxes 
which is allotted by the Imperial Treasury for such purposes 
as roads, bridges, &c. In those towns which have municipal 
institutions this is administered by the town council. 

Principal officials. — The governor of the province appoints 
over each district (uchastok) an official (ispravnik or uyesdi 
nachalnik) who acts as his representative and is the local 
commissioner of police. He in turn appoints his commissaries 
(stanovoi pristav), who are a sort of subordinate police- 
officials, acting as an alternative to the volost-courts for those 
who care to bring their cases before them ; but this often 
involves travelling some distance, and, even when they are 
accessible, they are usually ignorant and illiterate men, 
without any knowledge of the law. He also appoints the 
krestyanski nachalnik, who collects the taxes, and the mirabui 
sud or justice of the peace. There are appeal courts consti- 
tuted of these latter, together with two representatives of the 
volost-court. There is a justice of the peace for every three or 
four volosts. 

Information about the government of the various native 
tribes will be found in the chapter that deals with them, 
under the headings of the separate tribes. 





ads and Travelling — Sledging — Telegraphs and Cables — Wireless 

Roads and Travelling 

The Trakt and other main roads. — The great military road 
of Siberia, called the Trakt, was definitely constructed early 
in the eighteenth century, though there are references to such 
a road as early as the sixteenth century. Four main roads 
converge on Omsk, passing through the Urals by way of the 
towns of Verkhoture, Yekaterinburg, Zlatoust, and Verkh- 
ne-Uralsk : from Omsk the great road passes by way of Tomsk 
and Krasnoyarsk to Irkutsk, Chita, and Stryetensk. The old 
important route of the tea trade goes south into China from 
Verkhne-Udinsk, while beyond Chita an inferior read continues 
to Blagovyeshchensk after which a better road goes to 
Khabarovsk. Only very bad roads go on to Nikolaevsk and 
Vladivostok. Other important roads branch off to the north 
from Tulunovskoe and Irkutsk to Yakutsk and beyond, to the 
south from Omsk to Semipalatinsk and the Chinese frontier 
via Kosh-Agach, from Gryaznukha to Barnaul, and from 
Achinsk to Minusinsk. Along the lines of the Rivers Lena 
and Amur the roads are a less popular method of communica- 
tion than the rivers, which are navigated in summer by 
steamers and used by sledges as frozen roads in winter, the 
posthouses being often along the banks of the rivers and away 
from the roads. 

Seasons for travelling. — The worst seasons for travelling in 
Siberia are the autumn, when the frosts are beginning, and 
the spring when they break up. These two seasons are called 
in Russian rasputitsa. In summer travellers in the steppe 


districts suffer much from the dust, which often rises above 
the axle-trees, and is ready to be converted into a sea of mud 
by the rain ; in winter the travelling is mainly by sledge, and 
the frozen rivers add available roads. The Lena and the 
Amur are staked with double rows of pine branches to indicate 
the tracks. 

Posting. — Along all the main roads are posting-houses at 
irregular intervals, usually about 12 to 20 miles apart. There 
has long been an efficient posting system in Russian Asia ; in 
fact an effective organization of the posts was made in Siberia j 
earlier than in Europe. The Government appoints the post- 
masters, and they are allowed to make such terms as they 
choose, but the ordinary tariff is 1J kopeks the verst for each 
horse in western Siberia, and 3 kopeks in eastern Siberia and 
the north generally ; in addition there is a Government tax 
(pogron) of 10 kopeks per horse on each stage. Among the 
nomad tribes the traveller has to use tents (yurtas) instead of 
posthouses, and the route will change according to the season 
of the year. There is no fixed rate of payment, but the charges 
depend upon the local Russian official. The posthouse is 
usually the nucleus of a small population, the position of which 
it has determined. Those who breed and provide posthorses 
are exempt from the imperial poll-tax (17 roubles). At each 
posting station 15 to 30 horses are kept, and about one-third 
of that number of tarantasses, provoloki (two-wheeled cars), 
sledges and drivers in attendance. It is customary for 
travellers to purchase their own vehicles for the journey : 
sometimes if they are fortunate they can sell them advan- 
tageously at the end of their route. Thus in places beyond 
Lake Baikal, like Stryetensk, where iron axles are not manu- 
factured, it is easy to sell at a profit a tarantass which 
possesses these advantages. But a traveller from the east to 
the west is not likely to make a good bargain, when he sells his 
carriage at the end of his journey. Those who do not travel 
with their own vehicle, must travel na perekladnikh, changing 
their tarantass at every stage, and adding considerably to the 
delays which are already vexatious enough. It is also possible 


at times to travel in a carriage that the owner wants returned 
to his residence. 

Travellers are served with horses in the order of their 
arrival, but methods are adopted to discourage racing on the 
road, so as to pass other travellers who are farther ahead on 
the same stage. The mail service, which carries no passengers, 
takes priority of private travellers, and it is not uncommon for 
a traveller who has seen his fresh horses harnessed to his 
tarantass to have them removed and transferred to the 
imperial mail which has arrived. A further necessary delay 
occurs at intervals when the wheels are taken off to be greased. 
The horses and drivers do not go beyond their next posting 
stage, though sometimes by arrangement a returning team 
and driver will exchange places with those who meet them. It 
is difficult to arrange to stop between the posting-stages. 

The Podorozhna. — Formerly it was necessary to have a 
podorozhna, or Government permit to travel, in order to avail 
oneself of the advantages of the posting system, but this re- 
quirement is now obsolete, though the podorozhna still confers 
advantages. It is especially important in districts Avhere 
there are many political exiles and where the restrictions on 
travelling are numerous, and even elsewhere a driver may 
refuse to supply the horses, dogs, or reindeer required. 
Travellers who refer to the needlessness of it are thinking of 
the better known parts, where its claims to give priority of 
treatment are somewhat in dispute. 

Posthouses. — Posthouses are all on the same model. Like 
the other houses of the villages they are of logs. The only 
distinguishing mark is two wooden pillars painted black 
and white, surmounted by the imperial arms in front of the 
entrance. They differ in cleanliness and comfort, but not in 
architectural plan. In all there are at least two rooms, one 
for the postmaster and his family, the other for the travellers. 
In a few there may be a cot or two, but ordinarily there is 
merely space to lie on the floor, the traveller bringing with 
him such bedding or rugs as he chooses. The rooms are about 
20 ft. by 18 ft., and are heated by a huge brick stove in the 


party-wall. The floor has no carpet* and the onl} r furniture 
as a rule is a small table and two hard wooden chairs, with 
sometimes a wooden sofa or bench along the walls. Those 
near the towns are the dirtiest, and travellers will find them-1 
selves almost everywhere much troubled by insects and some- 1 
times rats. The best are on some of the side routes ; thus on] 
the Kupetski track, which leads south of Lake Baikal tol 
Kyakhta, the posthouses are much better than on the Great! 
Post Road. On the walls is a regulation price list of food andl 
drink, but in most cases this document merely deals with the I 
hypothesis of what would be charged if the food were there. ] 
Normally all that can be obtained is hot water, salted fish, and I 
black bread, though in western Siberia milk and eggs are 
fairly plentiful. Meat is rare, and seldom good. Travellers 
should bring their own food, as well as their bedding and a 
supply of rope and a hatchet for repairs on the road. Each 
posting-station is provided with a black book for complaints. 
A record is also kept of the time of arrival and departure of 
each visitor, if there is a clock on the spot. Even in hotels 
in the towns the washing accommodation is of the inostj 
limited and primitive sort. 

Yamshchiks. — The yamshchik is changed at every stage with 
the horses. He exj)ects a gratuity (called na chai, ' for tea '),] 
which is sometimes 10 kopeks, but more usually 15 from 
prudent travellers, for, although there is supposed to be a, 
regulation speed of 12 versts an hour, the pace to some extent 
depends on the generosity of the driver's employer. An 
ordinary stage of about 16 miles will be done in a little over 
two hours, and for a journey day and- night 200 versts is 
considered good. Three hundred versts can be secured by 
a special effort, but is regarded as cruel to the horses. The 
driver is provided with a whip, and a curry-comb of a primitn 
kind attached to the handle of his whip for removing ice fr< 
the horses' coats. Care should be taken that the yamsht 
conveys the traveller for the whole distance that he has c( 
cnanted, and docs not deposit him at an intermediate stage 
Ilorxes. — A team of horses is called a troika, being norm* 


three ; but often a larger number are employed, sometimes as 
many as seven. The middle horse goes under the big wooden 
bow (duga), which is often elaborately carved, and to it are 
[attached bells, which are only allowed to be rung on the high 
iroad, and removed on entering a town. The middle horse 
trots in the shafts, while the others gallop with their heads 
turned far out. Sometimes where the roads are bad, the 
horses are harnessed tandem. The horses are poor in appear- 
ance, but splendid for going : they are usually 14 to 16 
hands. Every horse is given six hours' rest at the end of 
a stage. 

Vehicles. — The ordinary conveyance is a tarantass, a rude, 
strong carriage of four wheels without springs, suited to its 
purpose of transit over these rough and jolting roads. The 
body of the carriage is borne on two long, elastic poles, which 
rest on the axles of the front and back wheels. In front is 
a box for the driver. In the carriage is no seat, but passengers, 
of whom there is room for two, lie on the floor, which is covered 
with straw, which travellers will supplement with pillows and 
mattresses for night travelling. Behind is a sort of hood, 
and the whole back part of the carriage can be cut off entirely 
by stretching a tarpaulin to the coach box when it is wet. The 
luggage can be strapped behind. The shafts are made fast/ 
to the duga to keep them clear of the horses' sides. Two- 
wheeled cars are called provoloki, and are especially used in the 
taiga. A more primitive and rougher kind of conveyance is 
the telega, which is often used as a cart to carry luggage, and 
as such often accompanies the convoys of prisoners who march 
to their distant settlements in Siberia. In towns there are 
other kinds of vehicles : e. g. in Tomsk the droshki is a low 
jaunting-car, in which two travellers sit back to back on 
a plank about 18 inches wide ; in Irkutsk the droshki has 
been compared to a sort of hoodless bath-chair. 

Condition of Roads. — The regulation breadth of the main 
roads in the western parts is 21 ft., and of the smaller roads 
14 ft. : the great breadth of the road is due to the cheapness 
of the land. At the side arc broad stretches of grass for riding 

X 2 


and walking, and even for driving, when that becomes im- 
possible on the road. Also the telegraph line has a broad 
space where all trees and bushes are removed, and there also 
it is possible to ride and drive, when necessary. Even bigger 
departures from the road arc not unusual. One traveller 
mentions that east of Tomsk there is practically no road, but 
the yamshchiks take their own route. Another traveller 1 
records that it is not uncommon in the part west of Irkutsk 
to leave the road, and take a short cut through the taiga by 1 
a track. The methods of road-making are primitive. Ap- 
parently the best surfaces are in the Government of Yeniseisk. 
In the Governments of Tobolsk and Tomsk the roads are very 
muddy ; east of Irkutsk they deteriorate, and beyond Lake 
Baikal they are the worst of all. The centre of the road is 
often cut to pieces by the big caravans that pass over it, 
especially in early autumn, to such an extent that traffic is 
almost impossible. The best part of the Trakt is between 
Krasnoyarsk and Irkutsk ; near Kansk it has been declared 
excellent, with a hard even surface. Verdicts pronounced 
on special parts of the road differ exceedingly ; near Abatskoe, 
where the roads from Tyumen and Tobolsk meet, a motor- 
driver has pronounced it a sea of mud, stretching wide on 
both sides of the road, and only passable by the indication of 
the telegraph posts, and between that point and Omsk the 
ruts were said to be sometimes 20 inches deep. The ruts are 
so marked in many roads that yantshchiks will sometimes 
refuse to accept vehicles of greater width. In the vicinity of 
many towns the roads are bad ; specially unfavourable com- 
ments have been made on them at Tomsk, near Bogotolskoe 
(at the boundary of western and eastern Siberia), Achinsk, 
west of Krasnoyarsk, and west of Chita, where a somewhat 
sandy track is described as winding capriciously through the 
depths of a thick forest. The road from Irkutsk to 
Baikal at Listvenichnoe is described as good, and the road 
the south-east side of the lake as difficult but good. A p* 
ticular portion of the road will change its character vei 
rapidly, and different accounts of its surface arc given 


different travellers who have passed over it at comparatively 
short intervals of time. 

Streets in Towns. — In the towns conditions are at their 
worst : there is no regular paving. Nansen describes the 
streets of Yeniseisk as ' muddy and full of deep ruts '. Along 
the sides of the streets are wooden planks to serve as footways : 
usually these are fringed with a line of posts to mark them off 
from vehicular traffic, when roadway and footpath alike are 
under snow. 

Theft. — Thieves, who are often escaped convicts {brodyagi), 
are alleged to frequent certain parts of the roads ; parts that 
have been specially indicated are between the Lena and 
Irkutsk (1904), and the parts of the Trakt between Nizhne- 
Udinsk and Kutulikskoe (1889). The brodyagi were often in 
alliance with the yamschihs ; they were usually armed with 
bludgeons, but did not carry firearms. 

Verst-posts, telegraphs, &c. — Along the sides of some of the 
roads are verst-posts with square tops cut in such a way that 
the traveller can easily see the distance that he has traversed 
from the last posting-station and the distance that he has to 
pass before reaching the next. At the posting-stations are 
boards affixed which show the distances to Petrograd and 
other important towns. There are telegraph stations along 
the important roads, the lines of telegraph being usually in 
broad lanes at the side of the road. It has been recorded by 
one writer that in some places over the steppes the telegraph 
wires are laid along the ground for 20 cr 30 versts in order to 
avoid the violent storms that sweep over those localities. This 
is said to be especially true of the neighbourhood of Mariinsk 
and Krasnoyarsk. At the entrance to villages are gates, 
guarded by a watchman : these are kept closed during the 
summer, to prevent animals straying into the village, but are 
open during the winter. 

Bridges and ferries. — Bridges are flimsy and short-lived 
wooden structures, with low hand-rails. For all the wider 
rivers there are ferries. On the Yenisei near Krasnoyarsk 
the river is crossed where two islands lie in mid-stream. The 


islands are reached from the banks by ferries, and are united 
by a short bridge. Among other places on the great post road 
there are ferries at Omsk, Dubrovinskoe, Tomsk, Mariinsk, 
Achinsk, Bolshe-Kemchug, Kansk, Nizhne-Udinsk, and Zimin- 
skoe. There are four kinds of ferries — (1) one kind is pro- 
pelled by horses, who work it by being driven round in circles 
— there is an example of this found at Tomsk ; (2) a second 
jkind is propelled by oars ; (3) a third kind is a pendulum- 
boat, which takes advantage of the current of the stream — 
there is an example on the Yenisei near Krasnoyarsk ; (4) and j 
a fourth is a cable-boat worked by a wheel. 


The normal method of travelling throughout Siberia during 
the winter and in northern Siberia during the whole year is 
by sledging. The sledges are drawn by horses, reindeer, or 
dogs in the various districts, horses being employed in the 
south, and reindeer and dogs in the north, the latter exclusively 
by certain tribes such as the Kamchadal. 

Nature of ordinary sledge. — The ordinary sledge is called 
a narta : it is a narrow vehicle from 9 to 14 ft. long by 30 ins. 
broad, fitted with a movable hood (koshma), which can be 
drawn completely over during storms or severe cold : the 
traveller must beware of letting it rest on his face during 
sleep, for it may cause frost-bite. The narta is a very light 
vehicle, and pitches heavily when it is traversing rough 
ground . The traveller can lie at full length. The runners are 
usually made of birch poles, and the fabric is kept together with 
cords, as nails would be jerked out almost at once. A Samo- 
yede sledge has two large thick runners curved up at the end 
in front to a height of two feet. On each side are four up- 
rights, placed rather close together towards the rear. These 
slope upwards and inwards until at 2 ft. they are united 
together by stout bars, which act as cross-overs and make the 
floor of the sledge : the long pieces are called bereznyas ; on 
this floor is put the luggage, and the driver sits on it or just 
in front. In some parts of Siberia the driver sits beside 


a perpendicular ' bow ' of stout wood which rises some 4| ft. 
from the ground, about one-third of the distance from the 
front to the back of the sledge. He avoids obstacles by 
pulling this way or that by means of the ' bow '. The harray 
is a stout steel-shod stick 15 ft. in length with a cord attached 
to the end ; it can be used as a brake by putting it between 
the runners, or the sledge can be anchored to it. The point 
can be used for testing the ice when crossing a river. 

Other hinds of sledges. — There are also the balog, a sort of 
family sledge or gipsy-car on runners, covered with tarpaulin 
and skins, which can even contain a cooking-stove ; the vashok, 
which is entirely enclosed ' like a huge brougham on runners ' ; 
the kackovka, a great open sledge, roughly made of wood and 
matting, and with no covering save a piece of matting or felt 
to spread over the recumbent travellers ; the pavoska, which 
is described as a large, deep, roughly-built sledge, open in 
front, but covered in at the back with a canvas hood lined 
with thick felt : the driver's seat consists of a flat board, from 
which slope outwards and downwards a pair of stout poles 
to save the vehicle in case of collision. 

Reindeer liarnessed to sledges. — Between two and five rein- 
deer are normally used for the sledge, though as many as 
eight were seen by Nansen drawing a balog. The Lapps, 
who have bigger reindeer, only use one at a time. A rein- 
deer will draw a load of 400 lb. over snow, and to a sledge 
which had a load of 800 lb. of blubber only two were 
harnessed. The Samoyede harnesses his reindeer by an 
ingenious system (described at length in Jackson, Great Frozen 
Land, p. 115), which compels each deer to do his share of the 
work, by a couple of chulki (' tackle-blocks ') made of wood or 
walrus ivory, through which the trace runs from the near to 
the offside reindeer. The same writer drove three reindeer for 
120 versts (1 Samoyede or Reindeer verst = 4 Russian versts) 
within 12 hours without feeding them, and they went the 
last 10 versts as well as the first, and were quite fresh after 
two days' rest. The reindeer is independent of roads ; he 
will find his food under the snow, which he scrapes away with 


his hoofs for a depth of 2 ft. or more, but ice may cut him off 
from his moss, and then he will soon be in poor condition 
All that he requires is protection from wild beasts, among his | 
special enemies being the wolverine, black bear, and polar ■ 
wolf. If unharnessed at any time he must be hobbled, or he I 
will return even 40 or 50 miles to rejoin the herd. His mostB 
frequent complaint is hoof -swelling. (For the breeding anda 
habits of the reindeer see Chapter V.) 

Reindeer riding. — The reindeer is sometimes ridden, but not J 
on the back, which would cripple it. The saddle is on the 1 
shoulders, and the rider gains his seat by means of a pole I 
in his right hand, not touching the saddle with his hands. 1 
To keep his seat he practises a swinging movement, balancing I 
himself with his pole, but it is unwise to put it to the ground 1 
to steady himself, for he will probably be dismounted. Again, 
if he grips with his knees so that the cushion slips back, the 
reindeer, feeling the weight, will bend under his haunches and 
deposit the rider on the ground. The Soyots use reindeer 
for riding among the Sayansk Mountains, as their food is 
more easily available than that of horses. They ride with 
two reindeer, one serving as pack-animal and relief. A Soyot, 
whose average weight is 4 puds in his furs, can ride a reindeer, 
while a Russian cannot. 

Dogs harnessed to sledges. — The dogs employed by the 
Samoyedes are like Eskimo dogs, but somewhat smaller ; 
those used by the Kamchadals are said to resemble wolves. 
Usually there are 6 or 8 dogs in a team. Most tribes are kind 
to their dogs, and in some places (as along the Yenisei) they 
are even given the warmest place over the brick-oven to sleeji 
on when they come in tired, and whoever may be there has 
to vacate it for them. They can go 60 miles at a stretch 
without being fed. In the Yenisei district a good sledge dog 
is worth 160 roubles, but such are not easily obtained, for 
a dog is of very little use for draught purposes unless he has 
been reared by his owner. A young puppy can be bought 
for a rouble. Older dogs are seldom bought except for breed- 
ing purposes. When running in the sledge dogs, w ho ha 


known one another since they were puppies must be paired : 
it is the only way of securing peace ; but dog teams will fight 
one another when they get the opportunity. Ordinarily a dog 
country is apart from a reindeer country ; but if the dogs 
get scent of a deer, they will become unmanageable. When 
dogs begin to paw the snow it is said to be a sign of 
a coming storm. The team dogs of eastern Siberia serve till 
they are 10 or 12 years old, but begin to deteriorate after 6 or 
7 years. They suffer frequently from rabies in the spring, 
but sometimes continue to be harnessed, though muzzled, 
when rabid. They also suffer from palsy and cramp : their 
feet are apt to become sore and are often made to bleed. 
Sometimes then they are put into shoes, but they greatly 
resent this treatment. They can draw considerable weights. 
Haviland describes a pack in which each sledge with eight 
dogs could draw 1,440 lb. of goods and two men, and the 
i leader by himself could draw 180 lb. on the sledge. On a good 
surface they could travel as much as 66 miles in 3 hours. 
The Russian, Koryak, and Kamchadal dogs feed exclusively 
on fish, the Chukchee dogs on intestines of seal and the 
blubber of seals, whales, and walrus. 

Telegraphs and Cables 

The telegraph system has been extended in Siberia in recent 
years, but there is still no close network of wires. Away from 
the railways and the chief rivers few places are on the 
system, and the north is almost devoid of telegraphic facilities. 

The trunk system consists of a line more or less following 
the railway between west and east and linking the telegraphic 
system of European Russia with Vladivostok, and via the 
Chinese Eastern Railway with Kharbin (Harbin), Mukden and 
the Chinese telegraphs. Most telegrams between Europe and 
Siberia pass either by Yekaterinburg or by Chelyabinsk, but 
the South Siberian Railway, when built, will afford a route 
via Orenburg. Russian Central Asia has its own lines of 
telegraphic connexion with Europe, 


From this trunk line, which traverses the most populated 
regions of Siberia, several branches run to north and south, 
but except in western Siberia there are no alternative routes 
to the main line, within Russian territory. The Amur 
telegraph lines through the Amur and Ussuri districts form 
an all-Russian route alternative to the more direct route 
through Manchuria along the Chinese Eastern Railway. 

The four chief lines to the north more or less follow the 
four great rivers. From Omsk a line runs north along the 
Irtish to Tara, across country to Tobolsk to avoid the swamps 
of the lower Irtish and thence down the Ob to Kondinskoe 
and Berezov. From Tobolsk a branch leaves this Irtish-Ob 
line and goes south-west to Tyumen where it joins the trunk 
line along the Siberian Railway. From Krasnoyarsk a line 
runs north to Kozachinskoe and follows the Yenisei to 
Yeniseisk and Turukhansk. On both this and the Ob line 
telegraph stations are widely separated in the north. From 
Irkutsk a line runs north-east to the Lena at Manzurskaya 
and then follows the Lena to Yakutsk with branches to 
Bodaibo and to Vilyuisk. From Yakutsk a line goes across 
country, following the rough track to Okhotsk. This is the 
most northerly line in Siberia. 

In Kamchatka there is a line between Tigilski and Petro- 
pavlovsk, but it is said not to be in working order. Lastly cat 
Chita the Amur line branches from the old trunk line which 
runs through Manchuria to Vladivostok along the railway. 
The Amur line leaves the railway at Stryetensk and keeps 
near the Shilka and the Amur to Khabarovsk where it turns 
south up the Ussuri to Vladivostok. A branch line from 
Khabarovsk follows the Amur to Nikolaevsk, sending branches 
across the northern end of the Sikhota Alin Range to de 
Castries Bay and to Cape Lazarev, whence cables cross to 
Sakhalin. On Sakhalin there is a line from Cape Pogobi 
Alexandrovsk and Due. The Amur line continues eastwai 
from Nikolaevsk to Chnuirrakh Point at the Amur mouth. 

The southern branches from the west and east triu 
telegraph line are more numerous. Most westerly in Sibei 


lis a branch from Petropavlovsk to Atbasar and Akmolinsk 
!in the steppes. From Omsk a very important line runs more 
or less along the Irtish to Semipalatinsk, whence it continues 
southward to Sergiopol, Kopal, Vyerni, and Tashkent in 
Russian Central Asia, connecting with the lines to Krasnovodsk 
on the Caspian Sea and to Orenburg in European Russia. 
This southern line sends several branches towards Mongolia, 
to Zaisan, Chuguchak, Kuldzha and elsewhere. At Chuguchak 
(Tahcheng or Tarbagatai) and Kuldzha there is connexion 
with the Chinese telegraph system. 

Another branch leaves the trunk line at 
and goes by Barnaul and Biisk to Kosh-Agach on the Mon- 
| golian frontier. From there to Kobdo, where the Mongolian 
telegraph system begins, telegrams are carried by Cossack 
post. In 1913 Russia was granted a concession by Mongolia 
to extend the telegraph line to Kobdo. A fourth important 
branch leaves the trunk line at Achinsk and goes to Minusinsk 
and Grigorevski on the frontier. In the Baikal and Trans - 
baikal regions there are several short lines southward to places 
on the frontier, including those from Kultuk to Tunkinsk, 
Verkhnc-L T dinsk to Troitskosavsk (meeting the Chinese tele- 
graphs at Kyakhta), and Chita to Mangut. Finally there are 
(a) the coast line northward from Vladivostok to Tyutikha 
Bay, which is being continued northward in order eventually 
to meet the Amur telegraph line ; and (b) the line southward 
from Vladivostok to Novo-Kievskoe near the frontier of Korea. 

Considerable difficulty is experienced in erecting telegraph 
wires in many parts of Siberia on account of the thick forests, 
swamps and other obstacles, but the difficulty of upkeep is 
still greater. Trees fall and interrupt communication, and 
natives are continually stealing the wire. Siberian telegraphs 
seldom work satisfactorily, and there is generally delay, not 
always unavoidable, in the transmission of messages. 

The only submarine cables touching Siberia are in the far 
east. Two cables, belonging to the Great Northern Cable 
Company of Copenhagen, connect Vladivostok with Nagasaki 
in Japan ; and there are Russian cables from Lazarev and 


de Castries Bay across the Straits of Tartary to Cape Pogobi 
and to Alexandrovsk, respectively, in Sakhalin. A Japanese 
cable also runs between Alexandrovsk, Todo Shima, a Japanese 
island off southern Sakhalin, and Hokushu. 

There are no cables to Kamchatka or across Bering Strait 
to America. 

Arctic Russia 

In Arctic Russia, except around the White Sea and on the 
Murman coast, the system of telegraph lines is little better 
developed than in Arctic Siberia 

Murmansk and other ports on the Murman coast are linked 
with the Russian telegraph system both along the route of the 
Murman Railway and round the coast of the Kola Peninsula. 
All White Sea ports and most places on the Northern Dvina 
also have telegraphic connexion, but in the Pechora region 
Ust-Tsilma is the only place with a telegraph line with the 
exception of a few stations in the extreme upper reaches. 
There is no telegraph line to Siberia north of the railway. 

There is no permanent through telegraph line to Finland 
north of Lake Ladoga, but a Russian military line runs 
from Rovaniemi to Pechenga. The Russian and Norwegian 
systems meet on the Voriema River, but are not connected. 

There are submarine cables from Alexandrovsk to Peter- 
head, Scotland, and from Alexandrovsk to Arkhangel. 

Wireless Telegraphy 

In recent years several wireless stations have been built 
in the far north and in the north-east, and others are projected. 

On the Murman coast there are stations on the Ribaehi 
Peninsula, at Alexandrovsk, Murmansk, Teriberski, and 
Svyatoi Nos ; on the White Sea at Kandalakska, Kem, Solo- 
vet ski, Arkhangel, Sosnovets Island, Cape Voronov and Kanii 
Nos. The nearest Norwegian stations are at Ingo, near the 
North Cape, and one at Green Harbour, Spitsbergen, eacl 
with a normal range of 480 miles. To facilitate the navig* 
tion of the Kara Sea three stations have been erected, 01 
Yugor Strait, on Vaigach, and at Capo Mare-Sale on Yama 


respectively, each with a normal range of 150 nautical miles. 
Others in Novaya Zemlya and elsewhere are projected (see 
Vol. II, Chap. V). A station at Obdorsk on the Ob delta is 
contemplated, and one at Dickson Island at the mouth of the 
Yenisei (range 1,700 miles) has been in operation for several 

In the far east there is a station at Okhotsk (range 130 
miles) which communicates with one at Nayakhanskoe on 
Gizhiga Bay (range 130 miles), one at Novo-Mariinsk at 
the mouth of the Anadir (range 130 miles), and another at 
Markovo farther up the Anadir. Stations are reported to be 
under construction at Yamsk on the Sea of Okhotsk, and at 
Sredne-Kolimsk on the Kolima. 

On the Amur there are wireless stations at Khabarovsk 
(military), at Nizhne-Tambovskoe (military) and at Niko- 
laevsk at the mouth (range 240 miles). The Nikolaevsk station 
communicates with one at Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka 
(range 240 miles). A second station is contemplated in 
Kamchatka at Tigilski on the west coast. Stations are pro- 
posed on Bering Island and on one of the Commander Islands. 
The station at Nikolaevsk also communicates with one at 
Kerbinski on the Amgun (range 170 miles). On the Ussuri 
there is a military wireless station at Iman. 

At Vladivostok there are three wireless stations, one 
belonging to the army and two to the navy. Japan has 
several stations within range of Vladivostok. A number of 
the Russian vessels which ply in far eastern waters as well as 
the Russian ice-breakers are fitted with wireless installations. 

There are no Russian wireless stations on Bering Strait, but 
stations are proposed at Providence Bay and Cape Dezhneva. 
The nearest United States stations of long range are those 
at Fort St. Michael and at Nome on Norton Sound in Alaska, 
both controlled by the United States Army, and those at 
Unalaska in the Aleutian Islands and at St. Paul in the 
Pribilov Islands, both operated by the United States Navy. 
The station at Nome communicates with the one at Novo- 


General Considerations — The Siberian Railway — The Amur Railway — 
The Ussuri Railway — The Altai Railway — Other Siberian Railways — The 
Murman Railway — The Arkhangel-Vologda Railway — New and Projected 

General Considerations 
Progress in Construction 

The total mileage of Russian railways open to traffic 
(47,480 miles in 1914) is large in comparison with that of 
other countries, but small in proportion to the area of the 
Empire. Of this total about 8,000 miles are in Siberia. 
Railway construction in the Russian Empire was proceeding, 
before the war, according to a definite plan. For the years 
1914-19, a programme was drawn up for constructing about 
2,330 miles of line each year, but the Commission under 
General Petrov had been of opinion that something more like 
4,000 miles each year were necessary for the needs of the 

The Russians build railways very quickly, so that they 
have been able after the outbreak of a war to make radical 
and timely improvements in their .system of communica- 
tions. In the course of the war with Japan they were able 
to finish the Circumbaikal section of the Siberian Railway 
in January 1905, a work of immense difficulty, as the section 
contains 40 tunnels. Meanwhile a line had been laid across 
the ice on Lake Baikal, from Baikal to Tankhoi, a distance 
of 25 miles. The work was accomplished between February 9 
and March 1, 1904, at a laying rate of about 1| mile a 
day. From the outbreak of war in 1914 to the spring of 
191(3 a thousand miles of the Murman Railway were built, and 


large sections necessary to complete the Amur Railway were 

Military Importance 
In the Russian Empire railways are particularly important 
| from a military point of view, owing to the vast distances 
between place and place, and owing to the state of the roads. 
Considerable advance in road-making took place in the first 
thirty years of the nineteenth century, but with the advent 
of railways, less attention has been paid to roads. There are 
very few roads in the Russian Empire which can support 
artillery, or which could allow a railway-line to be laid along 
their surface. The rivers, though suitable for transport, 
suffer from many disadvantages ; the Volga, for instance, 
runs into the Caspian, which is a closed sea ; the great 
Siberian rivers are all frozen in winter. Nevertheless, the 
rivers and canals of Russia have great possibilities in the 
development of military transport. 


The prominent characteristics of Russian railways are, 
first, that they are cheap to build, costing about £10,500 per 
mile in Europe, a little over £5,000 per mile in Asia. This 
cheapness is partly due to the general flatness of the country, 
and the straightness with which the line is traced. A second 
characteristic is that tunnels are few ; they are avoided, 
for instance through most of the course of the hilly Amur 
Railway, by steep gradients and sharp curves. A third 
characteristic has been already mentioned, the straight 
tracing of the line, so that towns are left on either side. 
The straightness of the track makes the measurement of 
distances off a map more approximately accurate than might 
otherwise be expected. Fourthly, most of the lines are single, 
but with embankment or bed provided for a double track. 


The standard Russian gauge is 1*524 metre (5 feet) ; there 
is a large number of small branch and feeding lines (in 


European Russia) which have a narrow gauge, varying from ! 
1-006 metre to 0-75 metre (3 ft. 3i in. to 2 ft. 5J in.). The wide 
gauge admits of heavy loading of trucks, but this advantage 
cannot be much used as the rails are not sufficiently heavy, 
lior the road-bed good enough, to take very heavy trains. 
But great improvements have been effected in recent years, 
especially on the Siberian Railway. 

The lessons of the Franco-Prussian War gave a great 
impetus to strategical railway building in Russia. The 
broad gauge was adopted, it is said on the advice of an 
American engineer, Major Whistler, to prevent the German 
and Austrian rolling-stock in time of war being put on to the 
Russian lines. The German and Austrian gauge is 4 ft. 8| in. 
The Japanese gauge is 3 ft. 6 in., but 4 ft. 8| in. was adopted 
as the standard in 1916. In the Russo-Japanese war, after 
the battle of Mukden, the Japanese narrowed the gauge on 
the Southern Manchurian Railway, but it took them 39 days 
to do it for 34 miles. It has since been widened, sec p. 342. 
The Germans, however, claim to have means for dealing 
rapidly with the task of converting the Russian gauge. Owing 
to the width of the embankment it is obviously easier to con- 
vert a broad gauge to a narrow one, than vice versa. 

Permanent Way 

In Russia in Europe, the sleepers are said to be sunk in the 
permanent way, so that the track can be used for marching. 
The surface of the bridges, which is open, would have to be 
covered, if the tracks were to be utilized for this purpose. 
This practice of sinking the sleepers seems to have been fol- 
lowed in a large number, if not in all the sections of the 
Siberian Railway. The railway tracks in Russia are often the 
only unflooded roads to be found in a large district. 


The amount of rolling-stock is not so great as in Germany 
or Austria, and owing to the great distances it is difficult to 
collect much together for a particular purpose at any one 


(place. In 1911 there were 21,121 locomotives, burning 
either coal, oil, or wood ; 24,487 passenger coaches ; 469,063 
goods wagons. But all these were said to be rather old. 
It is difficult to add new rolling-stock rapidly from Russian 
work-shops ; construction is retarded by the necessity of 
building different types of engines, some to use coal, others 
wood, others oil. In 1910 the Russian locomotives were 
stated to be 30 per cent, less powerful than those of Germany. 
The average speed is 13 miles per hour, on fast trains, 33 miles. 
The want of sufficient rolling-stock was still noticeable in 
1916. But locomotives and cars were imported in parts from 
the United States to Vladivostok, and were erected in shops 
f created during the war at Pervaya-Ryeka, on the main line 
five miles outside the city. In spite of the marshy, low-lying 
nature of the country, which necessitated much filling-in, 
a large system of sidings and workshops was completed by 
the beginning of 1916. At first only 5 or 6 cars were erected 
each day, but the output was expected within a short time 
to reach 100 to 150 a day. 

Loading Capacity 
The broad gauge admits wagons with a large carrying 
capacity. Ordinarily a wagon can take 32 to 40 men, or 
6 to 8 "horses. Most cars for carrying men are heated with 
a stove. A military train has from 30 to 50 wagons, 35 to 40 
being the commonest number. In its composition, a field- 
kitchen is also frequently included. The American cars 
purchased in 1915-16 were of the bogie type, 42 ft. long, 
and could carry 2,400 poods, i. e. nearly 39 tons. 14,000 of 
these cars were under order from America at the beginning 
of 1916, along with 450 American locomotives. As well as 
the newly constructed shops at Pervaya Ryeka, the machine- 
shops of the Chinese Eastern Railway at Kharbin were much 
used, being able to erect 4 or 5 locomotives per diem. 

Most of the Russian stations are some distance, varying 
from I mile to 10 miles, from the town or village after which 


they are named. On the Chinese Eastern Railway the 
distances are sometimes even greater. The stations are 
divided into classes from I to V. Class I is designed for 
changing locomotives and personnel of passenger trains ; 
Class II for dealing in a similar way with goods trains. 
Class III is designed for maintaining locomotives and personnel 
for local work. Class IV is designed for occupation by 
traffic staff only. Class V exists for the same objects as 
Class IV, but on a smaller scale. On the Siberian line at any 
rate the objects of the classes have been to a certain extent 
confused ; thus Classes I— III have all engine depots, and 
have been classified only according to size. All Classes IV 
and V have arrangements for watering locomotives, as well 
as living accommodation for traffic staff. A ' crossing ' is 
a point on the line, with (on the Siberian line) two loops in 
addition to the through track, and with sidings. There is 
a pointsman and accommodation for him at each crossing. 
When a line is doubled, the crossings may be eliminated. 
The stations of Russian railways generally have low broad 
platforms, in addition, being generally some way distant 
from their town or village, many stations have wide open 
spaces near by, very suitable for parading troops prior to 
entraining or on detrainment. On the Siberian Railway, 
the stations of Kharbin, Irkutsk, and Baikal have not these 
open spaces. For off-loading trains, ramps have to be used. 
Lifting appliances, cranes, &c., are not commonly used or 
provided. Most of the larger stations, even down to Class IV, 
have good buildings, many* of stone, which are constructed 
on a generous scale. 

Military Personnel and Control 

The military personnel dealing with railways consists of 
17 battalions, comprising 77 companies. There is a field- 
railway park with 100 kilometres (62 miles) of line, and then 
are field-railway depots. The lines are divided into districts, 
allotted to the transport line-commandants and station- 
commandants. In war, all the lines, at least in the theatre 


of operations, go under military control. A railway-battalion 
consists of two companies of constructors, two of ' exploita- 
tion ' employes, and two companies of reserve. There are 
three railway-battalions in the engineers of the reserve. 

Government and Private Enterprise 

About 69 per cent, of Russian railways are State-owned. 
All the Siberian Railway to the station of Manchuria, was 
built and is worked by the Government ; this is true also 
of the Amur Railway, which runs entirely through Russian 
territory. Several new branch lines, the Slavgorod Railway, 
the Altai Railway, and the Minusinsk Railway are built and 
worked by private enterprise. The Chinese Eastern Railway 
is under a private company, rather closely related to the 
Government. The private lines are said to be better con- 
structed than the lines built by the State. 

Civil Control 

Three official bodies deal with the railways : (1) the Ministry 
of Ways and Communications, which deals with the technical 
and administrative mechanism of the railways, including 
construction ; (2) the Ministry of Finance, which deals with 
the raising of capital, with tariffs, and kindred matters ; 
(3) the Control of the Empire, which inspects receipts and 
expenses, and makes up the complicated accounts between 
them. These bodies regulate private as well as State lines. 

Defects in Management 

Circumstances have prejudiced the successful working of 
the Siberian Railway system. The line is made up of separate 
railroads, each having its own independent administration 
and its head-quarters in Petrograd. The control over these 
railroads has not been properly co-ordinated ; overlapping is 
constantly occurring ; the different managements have never 
tried to work with one another for the improvement of the 
whole system, but have merely looked after their own sections. 
The initiative of local officials has been hampered by circular 

Y 2 


instructions sent out by the Ministry of Ways and Communica- 
tions. The system for watering engines is cumbrous and 
involves long delays. 

The Siberian Railway 
The idea of the great Siberian Railway is said to have been 
originated by Count Muraviev-Amurski, who became Governor 
of Eastern Siberia in 1848. He founded Nikolaevsk at the 
mouth of the Amur in 1850. His idea was to connect the 
Maritime Province with Russia ; when the construction of 
the Siberian Railway was actually taken hi hand in 1891, 
it was intended to carry out Muraviev's idea by building the 
line all the way through Russian territory, avoiding Manchuria. 
The earliest definite proposal was that of an English engineer 
called Dall, who put forward a plan for a horse-railway, 
to be laid from Nizhne -Novgorod by way of Kazan and Perm, 
to a Siberian port on the Pacific. After 1870 the railways of 
Russia took a steadity eastward trend. In 1877 the line to 
Orenburg was opened, and in 1878 the Ural Railway, ending 
at Tyumen. By the year 1890, there were three lines which 
had claims to be used for the great extension on to Vladi- 
vostok : one was the Ural Railway, a very important one on 
account of the mines and iron-works adjacent to it. The 
second was the Samara-Zlatoust Railway ending at Miyas. 
The third was the Samara-Orenburg line. The Samara- 
Zlatoust line was chosen as it offered the shortest route 
through Nizhne-Udinsk, and as it ran through the fertile 
black-earth region of western Siberia. The building of the 
line was begun in 1891, in different sections, and completed 
during the Russo-Japanese War, in 1905. Only Russian 
labour and Russian material were used, except perhaps on 
the Circumbaikal section which was finished in a hurry 
during the Russo-Japanese War. At various points along 
the route, steamer-wharves were made on the rivers, saw- 
mills and foundries were opened, and these still exist and 
offer means for railway-construction. 


Chinese Eastern Railway 
The original intention was that the Siberian Railway should 
run from Samara to Vladivostok by way of Stryetensk and 
Khabarovsk. But as the route from Stryetensk to Kha- 
barovsk (now called the Amur Railway) offered technical 
difficulties, an alternative route was adopted, through Man- 
churia, which was Chinese territory. In 1896 an agreement 
was signed between the Chinese Government and the Russo- 
Chinese Bank, for the formation of the Company of the 
Chinese Eastern Railway. This railway was to be built to 
connect the Transbaikal Railway with the South Ussuri 
Railway. The Company was given the power to work coal 
pits and to engage in other industries ' in China '. The share- 
holders can only be Russian or Chinese subjects. The 
Russian Government undertook certain financial guarantees 
with regard to the ' obligations ' of the Chinese Eastern 
Railway, but not with regard to its share-capital. The 
Company was to be under a Directorate, which was to sit in 
Peking and Petrograd. There were to be a chairman and 
nine directors, the chairman being named by the Chinese 
Government, the directors to be chosen by the shareholders. 
The line is to be leased to the Chinese Eastern Railway 
Company for 80 years, and at the end of this period is to 
pass, without any payment, into the possession of the Chinese 
Government. The luggage of passengers, and all goods, in 
passage from one Russian station to another over the Chinese 
Eastern Railway, are free from Chinese customs. In the 
tracing of the line, villages, towns, and cemeteries were to be 
left aside. The gauge of the Chinese Eastern Railway was 
to be the same as the Russian (5 ft.). After the Russian 
Government obtained a lease of the Laio-tung Peninsula in 
1898, the Chinese Eastern Railway was extended from 
Kharbin to Dairen and Port Arthur (614 miles). By the 
Treaty of Portsmouth, August 1905, Japan took over the 
southern section of this line, from Port Arthur to Kuan- 
cheng-tsu (467 miles). From Kharbin to Kuan-cheng-tsu 
it remains under the Chinese Eastern Railway Company. The 


line from Kuan-cheng-tsu to Port Arthur is now called the 
South Manchurian Railway, and since it was taken over by 
the Japanese has been converted from a 3 ft. 6 in. to a 4 ft. 8| in. 
gauge. In practice the goods are transferred at Changchun, 
1 mile south of Kuan-cheng-tsu. The Chinese Eastern 
Railway is really under the Russian Ministry of Finance, 
which controls it through the Russo-Chinese Bank. 

Amur Railway 

The disadvantage of the Manchurian route, from the 
Transbaikal Railway to Vladivostok, is that as far as Pogran- 
ichnaya, 144 miles from Vladivostok, it does not run through 
Russian territory. It is for this reason that the Amur 
Railway, connecting the Transbaikal line with Khabarovsk, 
and so by the existing north Ussuri Railway, with Vladivostok, 
is so important. It runs all the way through Russian territory, 
has embankment for a double track, and will probably in time 
become the main artery of communication with the old 
Siberian Railway. It runs some way north of the river 
Amur, instead of along its valley, so as not to be too near 
the frontier in case of war (see p. 347). 


The Siberian Railway was rather hurriedly and cheaply 
built. The ballast was thin, and the rails were only 54 lb. 
to the yard. They were afterwards replaced by 72 lb. rails. 
A report of October 1915 states that the line has been relaid 
with a still heavier rail, apparently 80 lb. per yard. The 
wooden bridges are also said to have been replaced by bridges 
of steel and masonry. While the Siberian and Transbaikal 
Railways were only single-track, the number of trains that 
could pass each way in a day was 10£ (21 in all on the line) on 
the Siberian Railway, 7 J on the Transbaikal. During the 
Russo-Japanese War the Transbaikal Railway is said to have 
been worked to take 12 trains a day each way, 


Effect of Double-tracking 
The doubling of the track between Omsk and Karimskaya 
(with the exception of the part round Lake Baikal) and the 
strengthening of the line in the mountain sections permit 
34 trains now to proceed in either direction. The through 
lines at the stations can take 60 trucks. The bridges were 
built for a single line, and many of them have yet to be 
adapted for a double line, even in the part where the line is 
already doubled. 

General Description 

The name Siberian was originally applied to the railway 
from Samara to Irkutsk. From Irkutsk to Manchuria was 
known as the Transbaikal Railway, in the days when Lake 
Baikal formed a huge gap in the line, traversed by a train- 
ferry from Baikal Station to Misovaya. To this was added 
the Circumbaikal Railway, completed during the Russo- 
Japanese War in 1005. On the Siberian Railway the old line 
from Yekaterinburg joins the Moscow-Samara line. 

Chelyabinsk to Ob. — From Chelyabinsk to the River Ob, the 
line passes through a fertile, black-earth country, very good for 
agriculture, especially in the Ishim and the Baraba steppes. 
The only difficulties are the Rivers Tobol, Ishim, Irtish, and 
Ob. The country is studded with clumps of dwarf elms and 
willows, which are only good for firewood. The population 
is agricultural and pastoral. As far as Chulim (802 miles from 
Chelyabinsk) the greatest grade is 1 in 165, the curves 1,750 ft. ; 
from Chulim to Ob the grade is 1 in 135, the curves 1,750 ft. 

Ob to Irkutsk. — From the Ob to Irkutsk, the line goes 
through hilly country, with some large rivers, the Tom, Yaya, 
Riya, Chulim, Yenisei. There are a number of smaller rivers 
to be crossed, and, as the valleys are fairly close together, the 
maximum grade is frequently reached. The country is thickly 
wooded, and there are very few clearings. After Achinsk the 
country becomes mountainous. At the higher elevations the 
forests consist of giant conifers. Forests are traversed for 
200 miles in long stretches of 25 to 45 miles without a break, 


The population consists mainly of settlers along the postal 
road from Tomsk to Irkutsk. A great deal of earthwork 
had to be used in the construction of this part of the railway, 
and in many places the embankment reaches 19 or 20 ft. in 
height. From Ob to Achinsk the grades are 1 in 111 and 1 in 
125, the minimum curve 1,750 ft. From Achinsk to Kansk, 
the grade is 1 in 66-6, minimum curve 1,050 ft. ; from Kansk 
to Nizhne-Udinsk, 1 in 57, and 1,050 ft. ; from Nizhne-Udinsk 
to Zima, 1 in 91, and 1,050 ft. ; from Zima to Polovinnaya, 
1 in 57, and 1,050 ft. ; from Polovinnaya to Irkutsk, 1 in 111, 
and 1,050 ft. Since these figures were obtained in 1908, the 
track has been doubled from Omsk to Karimskaya, and oppor- 
tunity was probably taken to ease the grades and to widen the 
curves in many places. Indeed, the Transbaikal sections, 
which in 1907 were stated to be the weakest links of the rail- 
way, are now, since the doubling of most of the track, spoken 
of as the best portion of the whole line. From Mariinsk to 
Irkutsk, the railway follows the Great Siberian Post Road 
more or less closely. Only between Krasnoj^arsk and Kansk 
is it distant between 18 and 19 miles, owing to topographical 

Transbaikal. — The Transbaikal Railway presented great 
difficulties in construction. After leaving Irkutsk the line 
follows the left bank of the Angara to the shore of Lake 
Baikal. In this section retaining walls were necessary to 
protect the toe of the embankments from the action of the 
river, which has a speed of 7 ft. per second. The Circumbaikal 
section starts from Baikal station, and for 52| miles, to 
Kultuk, follows the sinuous and rocky southern shore of the 
lake. The banks of the lake are 900 to 1,300 ft. above the 
water-level. It is in this section that tunnels are first found 
on the Siberian Railway. Between Baikal and Kultuk there 
are 40 tunnels, with a total length of nearly 4| miles. Between 
Kultuk and Misovaya the line has to take the slopes of the 
Shamanski Spur (at 96| miles from Irkutsk), the slopes of the 
Khamar-Dabansk (at 100^ miles) ; at 101 f miles it penetrates 
the spur of the Kerkidal. From 115 miles to 125J the line 


eaves the lake. From 173 miles it follows a plain until 
ape Malinovskaya is reached at 176 \ miles. The country is 
ilmost uninhabited, and the soil nearly always frozen. 
Besides the tunnels, there are many cuttings in the hard rock ; 
the deepest cutting is said to be 74 ft. On the Circum- 
baikal portion of the line the grade is 1 in 125, with minimum 
curve of 1,050 ft. 

After Misovaya the line loses its mountainous character, 
till it ascends the Tsagan-Da Range at 372 miles from Irkutsk. 
The valley of the River Khilok is well cultivated. At 609 
miles the line takes the summit of the Yablonoi Range, 
at about 3,137 ft. above sea-level. In descending the line 
falls 1 in 57, with curves of 1,050 ft., for a distance of 8 miles. 
The valley of the Ingoda presented great difficulties, as it is 
winding and the mountains are steep and come so close as to 
leave only a small strip free, which is often overflowed. 
The line follows the left bank of the Ingoda, and it is only 
in a few places that the embankment can be said to have 
sufficient room. The upper Shilka valley is just as bad, 
with rocky slopes to be crossed, some as much as 6 miles 

Along the Transbaikal line there is plenty of stone and 
timber (Siberian larches, pine, fir). The grades and curves 
are as follows : from Irkutsk to Baikal, 1 in 1,075 on curves 
of 1,260 ft., and 1 in 143 on curves of 1,050 ft. ; from Misovaya 
to Karimskaya, 1 in 107-5 on straights, 1 in 143 on curves of 
1,050 ft., with the following exceptions : at about 372 miles 
from Irkutsk, and again at about 609 miles, the grade is 1 in 57 
on straights, and 1 in 66 on 1,050 ft. curves ; at Karimskaj^a 
for 13^ miles the grades are 1 in 66. From Karimskaya to 
Manchuria the grade is 1 in 106 on straights, 1 in 143 on 
minimum curves of 1,050 ft., except that for 19| miles near 
Buryatskaya (743 miles from Irkutsk) and 6} miles near 
Borzya (at 864^ miles) there are grades of 1 in 57 on straights 
and 1 in 66 on minimum curves of 840 ft. 

The watering of trains is difficult on the Transbaikal Rail- 
way. The ground is permanently frozen ; even in summer. 


although the soil is thawed for 3 to 10 ft., the ground beneath 
remains frozen to a depth of 120 ft. Water-pipes therefore! 
cannot be buried below frost-level, in order to prevent them 
from freezing. On the Transbaikal Railway the suction and 
delivery pipes were placed in galleries, warmed by steam or 
hot water or hot air. Steam is only used for warming short 
lengths of suction-pipe. The delivery pipes, for distances 
up to 800 ft., are warmed by warm water in circulating pipes ; 
for lengths of more than 800 ft., air calorifers are used, about 
800 ft. apart, with ventilating pipes specially heated, to cause 
the air to circulate. These galleries are usually built below 
the ground level, or if built "above the ground, are banked in. 
In winter, the rivers are frozen solid, except the Selenga, 
Uda, Chita, Argun, and Onon. Across the River Khilok, at 
484 miles from Irkutsk, a dam has been built ; the sluices are 
closed at the commencement of the frost, and thus a large 
pond of solid ice is formed. The ice is then cut away in blocks, 
and thawed by steam in a tank. Water is obtained in this 
\\ T ay from December to the middle of March. 

Manchurian Sections. — After crossing the Manchurian border 
near Manchuria station, the line runs through a flat steppe 
district, as far as the Great Khingan Mountains, the slopes of 
which it takes near Myandukhe at 1,1 33 J miles from Irkutsk 
(189 miles from Manchuria). The slopes of the Great Khingan 
are richly wooded. The summit of the pass is penetrated by 
a tunnel at 1,176 miles, at a height of 3,355 ft. above sea-level. 
The tunnel, which is 3,383 J yds. long, is cut through sandstone; 
not bricked, and is very wet. There is an old deviation, used 
when the tunnel was being built, 12£ miles long, with steep 
gradients. After Barim, at 1,229 miles from Irkutsk, the 
steppe country begins again and is more fertile than the 
country to the west of the mountains. From Tsitsihar to 
Kharbin, the line passes over a plateau without trees and 
almost without inhabitants. After Kharbin, which is in a 
marshy district, the line goes through mountainous country 
all the way to Vladivostok. There are three tunnels about 
1,761 miles from Irkutsk. At Pogranichnaya is the terminus 


of the Chinese Eastern Railway. Between this station and 
Grodekovo on the Ussuri Railway there are six tunnels. 
Before reaching Vladivostok there is a deep cutting. Be- 
tween the stations of Kiparisov, 36 miles from Vladivostok, 
and Nadezhdinskaya, 28 miles, the permanent way is to be 
changed and a tunnel 2,450 ft. cut. From Nikolsk-Ussuriski 
to Vladivostok the line is double. The grades on the Chinese 
Eastern Railway are in the hill sections 1 in 57 on straights 
and 1 in 66 on curves. The curves are 1,400 ft., with a few of 
840. On the plain, the maximum grade is 1 in 125, compen- 
sated to 1 in 165 on curves 2,100 ft. By the treaty of Ports- 
mouth (1905) this line may not be used for military purposes. 
In 1939 China has the right of buying it. 

It was reported in 1901 that Russians had begun the 
construction of a secret standard gauge railway from the 
Chinese Eastern Railway, about 70 miles west of Khailar, 
southward through Manchuria. The railway was said to have 
been built for about 300 miles by 1902. This statement was 
proved to be untrue. The report possibly originated in a line 
to some quarry laid during the construction of the Chinese 
Eastern Railway. 

The Amur Railway 
The Amur Railway consists of a portion of the old Karim- 
skaya-Stryetensk line, as far as Kuenga, to which point it 
follows, first the Ingoda valley, and then the Shilka, which 
is formed by the confluence of the rivers Ingoda and Onon, 
near the station of Onon. The Shilka, like the Ingoda, 
is winding, with steep banks. The line follows its left bank 
along a ledge hewn out of the rock. At Kuenga the line 
branches north up the right bank of the River Kuenga (which 
it crosses near Ukurei), and then north-east. It goes through 
a hilly and wooded country, little peopled, more or less parallel 
to the Shilka valley at distances from it varying from 16 to 80 
miles as the crow flies and out of artillery range from the 
Chinese side of the Amur. There is a bad road along the 
north bank of the Shilka, and a road is being made along the 


railway. The embankments and bridge supports are built for 
two tracks although the present line is single. It is said to be! 
capable of taking nine trains a day each way with ease, to have 
few tunnels, and that normally the maximum grade provided' 
for is 1 in 100 with minimum curves of 1,050 ft. On the spurs 
of the Great Khingan and Lagar-Aul the grade is 1 in 71 with 
curves of 820 ft. The head-quarters of the Amur Railway 
are at Aleksyeevsk on the River Zeya. All the artificial work 
in connexion with the line is to be of a permanent nature ; 
the weight of the rails is 22 lb. per running foot. The perma- 
nent way is badly laid, and floods have done the line great 
damage, so that by the middle of 1917 it was being used 
comparatively little. 

The Amur Railway is a reversion to the original course 
projected for the railway to the Pacific, and it has been 
necessary to return to the adoption of this course now that the 
Manchurian Railway is no longer under Russian control since 
the war with Japan. The construction of the first section 
(Kuenga to Uryum, 122 miles) was begun in 1908, and con- 
tinued through the next two years, traffic being partially 
started in the winter of 1910. In 1912 two passenger trains 
ran in this section every 24 hours. The next section from 
Uryum to Kerak (398 miles) was commenced in 1910, the 
third section from Kerak to the River Diya near the Bureya 
(435 miles) in the spring of 1911, the last section to Kha- 
barovsk (302 miles) in the spring of 1912. The central portion 
was completed in 1914, and the whole, including the great 
bridge over the Amur, the longest in Russia, in 1916. The 
work was to be done exclusively by white labour with no help 
from the yellow races. The workmen were to be mainly 
reservists who it was hoped would, on the completion of the 
line, form military colonies in the Amur and Primorsk terri- 
tories. The difficulties in construction were greater than 
in any portion of the Siberian Railway. The line ran through 
an almost uninhabited district, to which roads had to be 
made, and the difficulties of water supply were enormous, 
because the rivers froze in winter, and such supply as there 


was could only be procured by excavating to Bources 
below the river-bed which did not freeze. The marshiness 
of the ground in the central section added to the difficulty. 
Many parts of the route were only to be traversed on horseback 
or on foot, and during the thaw and in the rainy season from 
June to August were entirely inaccessible. The country 
opened up by this railway is being rapidly populated : big 
villages are growing up where the line crosses the Zeya and 
the Bureya, the village of Surazhevka having been made 
already into the town of Aleksycevsk. The Avestern part of 
the line abounds in gold and there are coal deposits on the 
lower reaches of the Bureya. It is ascertained that 300,000 
colonists can be suitably settled in the district east of the 
Zeya ; twenty industrial settlements are growing up along 
the line, and a successful future for the timber industry is 

The Ussuri Railway 

At Khabarovsk the Amur Railway joins the Ussuri Railway. 
The line follows the right bank of the Ussuri River, crossing 
frequent tributaries and high watersheds formed by the out- 
spurs of the Sikhota Alin Range. Beyond Kruglikov the 
country becomes flat and marshy again, and then the line 
passes through virgin forest of gigantic cedar and larch, 
intertwined with wild vines and creepers. At Gedik the 
highest point on the line is reached, 445 ft. above sea-level. 
To Muravievo-Amurskaya the line continues to follow the 
right bank of the Ussuri, of which the left bank belongs to 
Manchuria. The country is hilly and wooded. The line is 
from 2 to 26| miles from the river. After crossing the Ussuri, 
the line enters the swampy Prikhankoisk basin along Lake 
Khanka, after which it crosses the watershed between the 
Lefu and Suifun Rivers. At Nikolsk-Ussuriski the line joins 
the main railroad to Vladivostok. The double track between 
these two places is now completed. The grades are as follows : 
for the first 228 miles from Khabarovsk (i. e. to 2 miles before 
Ussuri), 1 in 100 in eurves up to 3,500 ft., and 1 in 125 in 


curves of 2,100 ft. ; from there to Nikolsk-Ussuriski the grade 
is 1 in 125 in 2,100 ft. curves. 

The Altai Railway 

The railway from Novo-Nikolaevsk to Barnaul and Semi-I 
palatinsk was opened in November 1915. It opens up 
an important mining district, and the advisability of con-| 
btructing such a line was demonstrated by the fact that 
from its opening the number of passengers was much larger 
than the builders anticipated. The line could not carry all 
the passengers, and many were compelled to wait several 
days. Daily trains with cars of 3 classes were running regu- 
larly, the cars being new and comfortable. When the line 
was first used the station-buildings were unfinished, and a 
dining-room only was opened in Barnaul. A branch line runs 
from Altaiskaya to Biisk. 

Other Siberian Railways 

Three other important branches from the main line of the 
Siberian Railway have recently been opened. 

From Tatarskaya, 105 miles east of Omsk, a line goes south- 
east into the Kulundinsk steppes to Slavgorod. It was built 
by private enterprise. The whole region it traverses was 
practically uninhabited in 1907 but by 1912 was being rapidly 
settled by emigrants. It is proposed to extend this line to 
Semipalatinsk, and to link Slavgorod to Pavlodar on the River 
Irtish, and to Barnaul on the River Ob and the Altai Railway. 

From Yurga, 385 miles west of Krasnoyarsk, there is a short 
line, via Kolchugino, built by private enterprise to tap the 
coal-fields lying north of Kuznetsk, which town is the 
terminus of the railway. 

The Minusinsk line leaves the Siberian Railway at Achinsk 
and extends through hilly country to Minusinsk on the River 
Yenisei. It passes through a fertile region with considerable 
coal and iron resources. 

Three short railways built for mining purposes are not con- 
nected with the main Siberian Railway. One is between the 


coal mines of Ekibas-tuse and the River Irtish, it is 70 miles 
Long and is of standard gauge. A second is from the zinc 
mines of Riderski to Ust-Kamenogorsk. It is 70 miles long 
and has a 3 ft. gauge. The last runs from Bodaibo to the 
Vitim, a distance of 15 miles. It is narrow gauge. 

The Murman Railway 

The total cost of construction is estimated at £2,200,000. 
From Zvanka, 70 miles from Petrograd, a line has been 
constructed by the Olonets Railway for 176$ miles to Petro- 
zavodsk. This has been built with French capital but taken 
over by the Russian Government. From Petrozavodsk to 
Murmansk the line is divided into 3 sections : (1) from Petro- 
zavodsk to Soroka where the line reaches the White Sea, 
opened in 1915, (2) from Soroka to Kandalaksha, opened in 
1917, (3) from Kandalaksha to Murmansk, opened in 1916. 
The last section was constructed by British engineers. Traffic 
had started on the third section before the middle section was 
completed, but, while it was being made, traffic was taken 
from Kandalaksha to Kem or Soroka by sea. The whole 
railway is of Russian standard gauge and is the property of 
the Russian Government. The line is single and there are 
passing sidings every 10-12 miles. The line will afford oppor- 
tunities for exploiting timber and wood-pulp. At present its 
chief importance is strategic. 

Between Petrozavodsk and Kem the line traverses wild and 
almost uninhabited country, full of forests and lakes. From 
Kem to Kandalaksha it passes through a succession of small 
lakes, swamps, and virgin forests. The third section goes 
across the Kola Peninsula, which is uninhabited but for the 
coastal strip. This part of the line, however, was of com- 
paratively easy construction, and the material for it was 
shipped direct to Kola. 

The section between Murmansk and Kem becomes almost 
unworkable in summer owing to the swampy nature of the 
country. No great speed can be obtained. The rest of the 
line is firmer. 


Probably six trains a day could pass each way in case of 
necessity. There are two patterns of trucks, the Russian and 
the American. Large numbers of the latter are being used. 
The closed trucks have the following dimensions : 

./hiss ian . . 1 merican . 

Length 21ft. 13 ft. 

Breadth 9 ft. 8 ft. 9 in. 

Height 7 ft. 3 in. 7 ft. 9 in. 

Carrying eapacity . . .20 tons 39 tons 

Arkhangel-Vologda Railway 

This line was narrow gauge at the outbreak of the war. 
To cope with the increased traffic via Arkhangel, a third raij 
for standard-gauge rolling-stock was laid from Arkhangel 
to Nyandoma (214 miles). Thence to Vologda (180 miles) 
a standard-gauge line was laid beside the narrow-gauge line. 
Later the narrow-gauge line between Nyandoma and Vologda 
was converted to broad gauge, thus giving a double track on 
this part of the railway. It was then proposed to double the 
line from Arkhangel to Nyandoma. 

In 1916 the maximum number of trucks that could be dealt 
with in a day from Arkhangel Mas 475. 

New and Projected Railways 

The most important schemes of railway-construction are : 

(1) The Southern Siberian Railway, which is under construc- 
tion, will link up the Altai Railway from its present terminus 
at Semipalatinsk to Orsk, passing by Akmolinsk and Atbasar. 
From Orsk it is to be prolonged to unite with the Tashkent 
line at Martuk Station. It is anticipated this line will greatly 
stimulate emigration from the less productive provinces 
European Russia into lands where there are millions of suital 
acres waiting for development, but at present too far from ai 
railway for colonization to be possible. 

(2) The railway already constructed from Poletaevo 
Troitsk will be continued to Fedorova and Kustanai in tl 
northern part of the Turgai Province. 


(3) A line from Petropavlovsk to Kokchetav in the north 
of the Kirghiz steppe has been mooted. It will be about 100 
miles long and will serve the country between the I shim and 
the Irtish. 

(4) A line was opened on January 11, 1917, from Yekaterin- 
burg by way of Irbit and Turinsk to Saitkovo on the Tavda ; 
it is proposed to continue it to Tobolsk. 

(5) A very important line has been projected from Soroka 
on the Pomorski coast to the River Ob, a distance of about 
1,000 miles. It was originally intended to have the terminus 
at Arkhangel, but this idea seems to have been given up in 
favour of a terminus at Soroka, where a harbour for vessels 

i of larger draught can be constructed. Such a railway is of 
immense importance in order to bring about the commercial 
success of the Murman Railway. The route presents no 
great difficulties of construction, and would not entail the 
climatic difficulties that attended the construction of the 

j Murman Railway. In 1916 both routes (to Arkhangel and to 
Soroka) were being surveyed. The line, as originally proposed, 
was to run from Arkhangel to Pinega and then through the 
Ukhta district, and over the Pechora River at Troitsko- 
Pechorskoe to a landing-stage on the River Ob near Chema- 
shevskoe (63° N. lat.). There is to be a branch on the east side 
of the Urals to the Nadezhdinski works on the Bogoslovski 
Railway linking up with Yekaterinburg. It is anticipated 
that the cost will be £10,032,000 ; it is estimated that the 
annual goods traffic over the line will be from 30 to 45 
million cwt. The objects of the line are to develop the forest 
regions of northern Russia, to stimulate the mining of the 
northern Urals, and to provide Siberia with an important 
outlet for its trade. The length of the line will be about 1,000 
miles. Another proposal, which has more to recommend it, 
is to extend the Vyatka-Kotlas line north-west to meet the 
Murman Railway at Soroka on the White Sea. 

(6) Closely related to these schemes is the project for the 
so-called Arctic Railway from Obdorsk, or some place on the 
River Ob near by, across the Ural Mountains to a port in the 



eastern Barents Sea. This would obviate the difficult passage 
of the Kara Sea and make a good outlet for the trade of 
Siberia. The Urals afford fairly easy passes for such a railway. I 
The former proposal for a port on the Gulf of Baidaratskaya I 
has been abandoned in favour of a port near the mouth of I 
the River Pechora, possibly near the entrance to Khaipudir- -t 
skaya Bay. The length of the line will be about 300 miles. 1 
Narrow gauge is proposed. The cost, exclusive of harbour 
works, is estimated at about £2,250,000. 

(7) Other proposals are a line from Achinsk to Yeniseisk, 
a trunk line from Tyumen to Tomsk, crossing the River Irtish 
at Tara, and a line north to Tara from the existing railway 
lines. Early in 1917 it was decided to accelerate the construc- 
tion of a line from Yaroslav in European Russia by way of 
Kostroma, Krasnoufimsk, Ufalei, and Ishim to Tomsk. 

(8) It is proposed to connect the gold-mining district of 
the Lena with the Siberian Railway by a line from Tulun 
which will reach the Lena valley at Ust-Kutskoe (94 miles). 
The inhabitants of Irkutsk are anxious that the line should 
go from Irkutsk via Zhigalovskaya and for this reason are 
agitating to improve the river-bed between Ust-Kutskoe and 
Zhigalovskaya. It is further proposed to carry the line on 
to Bodaibo on the Vitim via Kunerma, the distance being 
1,000 miles from Tulun. 

(9) There is talk of a railway either from Misovaya or from 
Verkhne-Udinsk to Kyakhta in order to bring the Mongolian 
markets into connexion with the main Siberian line. This 
railway is to be constructed at government expense, and had 
been approved by the Council of Ministers in 1913. It is 
understood that it was arranged in 1915 to extend this line 
to Urga, because the fall of Tsingtau and the expulsion o: 
German trade from nearly all the far east has given Russi 
great opportunities of acquiring fresh markets in China. 

(10) An agreement was signed on March 27, 1916 for a ne 
railway to be constructed connecting the Chinese Easte 
Railway at Tsitsihar with Aigun on the Amur, and continuin 
a few miles along that river so as to be opposite Blagovyes 


chensk. A branch line will run from Mergen about halfway 
along this route to Kharbin, which will increase the agricul- 
tural importance of this district ;' farther north timber and 
mining are more important industries. The length of these 
lines will be about 650 miles in all. 

(11) A short line is projected from de Castries Bay to 
Sofiisk on the lower Amur. 

(12) A line was strongly advocated by the late Governor- 
General of the Priamur to link the Ussuri Railway with Olgi 
Bay and Imperatorskaya Harbour, which would be of great 
service for the export of timber. 

(14) According to the Russian press the committee under 
the chairmanship of the Assistant Minister of Ways and Com- 
munications included in the estimates of 1917 the execution 
of an economical and technical survey of the railroad from 
Aleksyeevsk to Nikolaevsk on the Amur. 




Prehistoric Races — Early Relations with Russia — The Early Conquerors — 
Attempts to conquer the Amur Region — The Treaty of Aigun — The Peking 
Convention — Russia and Japan — Russian Advance in Mongolia. 

In prehistoric times Siberia, especially in the south-west, 
was far more densely populated than it is at present. Neo- 
lithic remains are numerous. Many peoples have doubtless 
been driven into the inhospitable north before successive 
waves of emigration. 

Prehistoric Races 

In the Yenisei valley and throughout the south-west of 
Siberia there are found a number of tumuli containing the 
remains of a highly-developed branze civilization, when gold 
and silver were also largely worked. These are generally 
thought to belong to a primitive Yeniseian race. In the 
third century the Uigurs, a Turkic steck, are said to have 
overrun the country during the time of the wanderings of 
the Huns, and the resulting people are generally known as 
Ugro-Samoyedes. They built tumuli over their dead, which 
they adorned with monoliths. These were sometimes simple 
pillars, but were more often carved into human likenesses, 
many of them with astonishingly realistic features. These 
monoliths occur throughout south-western Siberia, but ai 
most common in the Minusinsk district, where they invariably 
face north and south. Iron and bronze implements are founc 
in large numbers in the tombs, but gold and silver are rai 
The Ugro-Samoyedes were great agriculturists, irrigati] 

1 These notes are not carried beyond 1916 and so do not include 
Russian Revolution of 1917. 



wide tracts of land. Modern settlers not infrequently open 
up and use their canals to-day. Eight centuries later these 
Ugro-Samoyedes were subdued by another Turkic stock, 
also highly civilized, which maintained its power till the 
Mongols under Jenghiz Khan swept over the land and utterly 
destroyed its civilization. 

Early Relations with Russia 
By the end of the eleventh century the energetic merchants 
of Novgorod had penetrated into Siberia, or Ugra, as it was 
then called, as far as the present government of Tobolsk. 
In the fourteenth century they even established settlements 
on the Taz. These nourished until the Russian Government 
closed the Kara Sea. Not only Russian, but Dutch and Eng- 
lish merchants, and even Russian emigrants, used the Kara 
Sea route at this time until embargoes were placed upon it. 
But in 1662 the Ostyaks destroyed the rapidly-decaying 
settlements on the Taz. 

These men of Novgorod were mere fur- traders, with no 
idea of conquest. But meanwhile the people of Moscow 
were systematically advancing towards the Urals, and during 
the sixteenth century began to enter into close relations with 
the tribes on the other side. Tartar hordes had recently 
brought them into some kind of subjection. In 1555 Ediger 
Khan, who had united the small Tartar principalities into 
a kingdom, consented to pay a tribute of 1,000 sables to 
Moscow in return for a protection which the Tsar was in- 
capable of affording, though he welcomed the tribute. 

The Cossacks 
The conquest of Siberia was the work of the Cossacks. 
These are not, as is generally supposed, a body of irregular 
horse, but a section of the Russian people with special duties 
and special privileges. Thus in 1851 Count Muraviev con- 
verted the Nerchinsk peasants into Cossacks. The Cossack 
unit is the stanitsa or village. They hold their land in common 
and have the right to let it. They are liable to military 


service between the ages of 18 and 48. They receive a money- 
allowance from the Government, which also supplies them 
with arms, but they must provide their own equipment and 
their own horses, if mounted. Large stretches of land are 
reserved for them, usually on the frontiers. They are divided 
into sotnyas, each of which mannages its own affairs. 

The Early Conquerors 

Yermak, the first conqueror of Siberia, was a tracker on 
the Volga, then a pirate on that river among the Don Cossacks, 
till his success attracted the dangerous attention of the 
authorities. He fled to the Stroganovs, the great merchant 
family of Perm. They had long coveted the rich furs of 
Ugra and were only too glad to make use of Yermak to 
satisfy their ambitions. They provided him and his 800 men 
with everything they required for their expedition, including 
three priests and a runaway monk. In 1580 Yermak reached 
the Tura, wintering where Tyumen now stands, and in the 
following year he took the famous fort of Isker, or Sibir, near 
Tobolsk, from which the name of Siberia is sometimes derived. 
Ivan the Terrible rewarded him with a free pardon for his 
early misdeeds. By 1584, when he was drowned in the 
Irtish, Yermak r s conquests extended from the confluence of 
the Ob and the Irtish to the Tagil and the Tura, and he had 
secured them by forts at Tyumen and Tobolsk. 

The romantic story of the conquest of Siberia recalls that 
of Mexico or Peru. It was made possible only by the help- 
lessness of the natives in the face of firearms. Yermak's 
success shook the cohesion of the Tartar power, and his 
conquests therefore survived his death. A stockaded ostrog, 
garrisoned by a few Cossacks with a gun or two, could hold 
down an enormous expanse of country in the wild northern 
regions. But the Cossacks were as yet unable to overthrow 
the stronger barbarian organizations of the south. Hence 
they followed the line of least resistance towards the east 
and the north. Thus Berezov was founded in 1593, 11 years 
/\ before Tomsk. Furs were to the Cossacks what gold was to 



the Spaniards, and these were still to be found in plenty in 
the sparsejy inhabited districts into which they penetrated. 

Moreover, the Cossacks were born sailors. We find Yermak 
for instance, damming a stream with sails in order to secure 
sufficient water for his boats. Their natural method of 
progress was to sail down one river, haul their boats over 
the portage, and then sail down another. And none of the 
principal rivers of Siberia runs south. Yeniseisk was founded 
in 1618, and 12 years later the Lena was reached. The 
Yakutsk ostrog dates from 1637. Ostrogs were also estab- 
lished at Tomsk, Turukhansk, Olekminsk, Irkutsk, and other 
places. The conquerors met with little effective resistance 
from the scanty population, though the Tungus were only 
subdued, after a desperate struggle about 1623. 

Access to the Pacific Ocean 

As there are no tributaries connecting the Lena with other 
great eastern rivers by easy portages, the Cossack Buse, who 
Mas sent to collect tribute from the northern tribes, sailed 
down the Lena in 1638 and out at its western arm to the 
Olenek and the Yana. In 1639 he discovered the Indigirka. 
The hardships endured by the Cossacks on these expeditions 
in the unknown Arctic Ocean were often terrible, and, unlike 
Yermak, they soon began to treat the natives with the 
utmost cruelty. In 1644 Nizhne-Kolimsk was founded on 
the Kolima. Four years later the Cossack Dezhnev, after 
whom the Russians have justly re-named East Cape Cape 
Dezhneva, made his wonderful voyage round the coast to 
the Anadir, sailing through the Bering Straits 80 years 
before Bering rc-discovercd them. On the Anadir he was 
joined b}' other Cossacks, who had come from the Kolima 
by land along the Anyui and over the watershed. The 
Okhotsk ostrog was built in 1647, in spite of the fierce resist- 
ance of the Buryats. By 1697 Kamchatka was explored to 
Cape Lopatka and an ostrog built at Verkhne-Kamchatsk. 
But there were serious mutinies and quarrels among the 


Cossacks and their leaders in this remote district, which was 
highly prized on account of its wealth in furs. 

Attempts to Conquer the Amur Region 
In 1643 Poyarkov started up the Aldan and then sailed 
down the Zeya and the Amur to its mouth, returning by the 
Sea of Okhotsk to the mouth of the Ulya, then back to 
Yakutsk by the Maya. His name is commemorated in 
• Poyarkova on the Amur. This remarkable voyage lasted 
three years. 

We now meet with the second great name among the 
j Siberian conquerors, Khabarov, the merchant of Olekminsk, 
, who occupied a position on the Lena not unlike that of the 
Stroganovs at Perm. In 1649-50 he fitted out an expedition 
to the Amur, taking the much shorter route along the Olekma. 
He seized Albazin, then sailed down the Amur and wintered 
at the place which now bears his name, Khabarovsk, where 
he successfully resisted the attacks of large Chinese forces. 
\ Compelled to retreat, he established a post at the mouth 
of the Zeya. The fact that he instinctively selected Albazin, 
Blagovyeshchcnsk, or Ust-Zeya as it was then called, and 
Khabarovsk for his posts — all places which have since proved 
to be of primary importance in the history of the river — is 
a striking proof of his foresight. He also insisted from the 
first that at least 6,000 men were necessary for the conquest 
of the Amur, and he would probably have succeeded in the 
enterprise, had they been forthcoming. But such an army 
could not have been raised or even supported in Siberia at 
this time. 

X Meanwhile the Russians were advancing in the Transbaikal, 
the natural base for an attack on the Amur. In 1649 Verkhne- 
Udinsk was founded, and by 1654 Nerchinsk, on the other 
side of the watershed. Then Beketov, after whom Beketova 
on the Amur is named, pushed along the Ingoda and the 
Shilka till he reached the Amur proper, thus discovering the 
quickest way to the river. The Cossacks still maintained 
their hold, but the Chinese, exasperated by their raids along 


the Ussuri into the heart of Manchuria, were determined to 
drive them out, at all costs. 

In 1655 they failed' to take Kumarskaya with an enormous 
army, and for a time Russian prospects looked brighter. 
But even Tolbuzin's heroic defence of Albazin in 1684 and 
1685 was unavailing. His name is preserved in Tolbuzina, 
close to Albazin, on the Amur. The numbers of the Cossacks 
were inadequate for their task, and Russia, weakened by 
internal troubles, ended by ceding the Amur to China by the / 
Treaty of Nerchinsk (1689). 

The eighteenth century was marked by the beginning of 
the scientific exploration and organized settlement of Siberia. 
Numerous expeditions were sent to subdue the tribes of the 
north-east, notably the Chukchee, but they were never more 
than partially successful. 

Muraviev and the Amur 

As time went on Russia felt more and more the disadvantage 
under which she laboured in not having a suitable outlet on 
the Pacific. Her occupation of the Amur was due almost 
entirely to the energy of Count Muraviev-Amurski, the third 
great name in the history of Siberia. In 1849 he sent Nevei- 
ski, who has given an alternative name to the Gulf of Tartarv. 
to explore the mouth of the river. He thus learnt that 
Sakhalin was an island and that the river-mouth was access- 
ible to sea-going ships. In 1850 Nevelski established a port 
at Nikolaevsk in defiance of all rights. Two years later 
de Castries Bay and Mariinsk were occupied, while posts 
were established on Sakhalin. Buse and Korsakov, after 
whom settlements on the Amur have been named, also played 
an active part in these proceedings. 

But Russia owes her hold on the Amur to the Crimean War, 
in the course of which a strong force of French and British 
seamen was defeated by a handful of Cossacks in an attempt 
to take Petropavlovsk in Kamchatka. Not till 1854 did the 
Tsar consent to an expedition down the Amur under Muraviev. 
In the following year a large flotilla was sent, bringing 


much-needed assistance to the Russian Pacific squadron. 
The settlement of peasants along the left bank was begun 
in 1856 with colonies at the mouths of the Kumara, the Zeya 
and the Sungari and at the entrance to the Little Khingan 
gorge ; and the process was steadily continued. 

The Treaty of Aigun 
China, which had never attempted to occupy the left bank 
of the Amur, accepted the inevitable, and by the Treaty of 
Aigun, in 1858, ceded to Russia all territory on the left bank 
of the Amur from the Argun to the sea. The territory on the 
right bank of the Amur from the Argun to the Ussuri went to 
China. The territory between the Ussuri and the sea was to 
remain neutral ground between the two empires, pending 
a delimitation of the frontiers. The Amur, Sungari and Ussuri 
were to be open to the navigation of Russian and Chinese 
vessels, but closed to the vessels of other countries. 

The Peking Convention 

The Peking Convention of 1860 defined the boundary be- 
tween Russia and Manchuria as following the Argun, Amur, 
and Ussuri, and Sungacha, to Lake Khanka. From the 
source of the Sungacha the boundary crosses Lake Khanka 
to the mouth of the Pai-ling and thence follows a line des- 
cribed in the Convention (Chinese text) as follows : ' From the 
mouth of the Pai-ling River along a mountain range to the 
mouth of the Hu-pu-tu River, and from the mouth of the Hu- 
pu-tu River down the Hunchun River and along the range of 
mountains between that river and the sea to the mouth of the 
Tumen River.' ' The frontier meets the Tumen River at about 
20 li (6 miles) from its mouth.' 

(On all Russian maps the frontier follows tho Hu-pu-ti 
River (Khubtu) throughout its course, and goes along tin 
mountain range between the Hun-chun River and the sea unti 
it meets the River Tumen.) 

Russian Ports on the Pacific 

Before the days of Muraviev Okhotsk had been the Russiai 

military and naval port on the Pacific, but in 1850, deceive* 


by the beauties of Avacha Bay in Kamchatka in summer, the 
Governor General had made it the head-quarters of the 
Pacific squadron. Ten years later the squadron was trans- 
ferred to Nikolaevsk. Russia was now in possession of 
Vladivostok, but she did not make it her naval base till 
1872, since when its growth has been very rapid. 

The Fifty-Verst Zone 
The Convention of Peking stipulated that there should 
be free trade between the two empires along the new frontiers. 
An agreement extending over a period of 30 years, which was 
confirmed in Petrograd in 1881, established a 50-verst zone 
along the entire frontier within which no customs dues were 
to be collected. In practice this meant that Chinese goods 
were admitted duty-free into Siberia along the Amur, though 
Russian merchants also did a considerable trade with China 
further west. Russia denounced the agreement on its 
expiration on January 1, 1912. 

Russia and Japan 
Manchuria and the Russo-Japanese War 

Russia began her Manchurian adventure with the agree- 
ment between the Chinese Government and the Russo- 
Chinese Bank in 1896. This brought into being the Chinese 
Eastern Railway Company, which was to link the Trans- 
baikal Railway with the Ussuri Railway at Vladivostok. 
Shares could only be held by Russians and Chinese. Russia 
thus definitely abandoned the longer and more difficult route 
along the Amur through her own territory in favour of the 
shorter route through Manchuria. The railway company 
had the right to a strip of territory on each side of the line 
within Avhich it exercised absolute control, while Kharbin 
in the Kirin Province was established as the head-quarters 
of the line. It has now become one of the most important 
Russian towns in the Far East. 

Two years later, in 1898, Russia obtained the lease of 
Port Arthur and Talienwan (Dairen or Dalny) on the Liao- 


tung Peninsula. After the Boxer rising in 1900, when the 
Chinese were driven into the Amur at Blagovyeshchensk andj 
Aigun was destroyed, the Russians occupied large areas inj 
Manchuria which they declined to surrender. They rapidly] 
extended their influence both in Manchuria and Korea. 

Then came the Russo-Japanese War, followed by the! 
Treaty of Portsmouth of 1905. Russia recognized Japan's! 
paramount influence in Korea, ceded to her all her rights in! 
Port Arthur and Talienwan (Dairen) and the railway between' 
Port Arthur and Changchun and handed over to her the 
occupied districts in Manchuria, which were restored to China. 
Japan was also entitled to fishing-rights in the Japan and 
Bering Seas and the Sea of Okhotsk. Japan had acquired the 
Kuril Islands in exchange for the southern portion of Sakhalin 
by a treaty with Russia in 1875. But the Treaty of Ports- 
mouth again divided the island between the two powers at 
the line of 50° N. lat. Russia thus abandoned her attempts 
to become the dominant power in Manchuria, where her 
authority has rapidly declined, and the Chinese themselves 
are now steadily settling the province. The construction of 
the Amur Railway thus became a strategic necessity for 
Russia. The building of a line from Aigun southward to 
Tsitsihar, linking the Chinese Eastern and Amur Railways, 
could only be a question of time, and in 1916 an agreement 
was concluded between Russia and China by which Russia is 
to raise a 5 per cent, loan of £5,000,000 after the war for the 
building of this line. It is to be controlled by Russians 
nominated by the Russo-Chinese Bank. 

Russo-Japanese Agreement of 1916 

The growing cordiality of the relations between Russia ai 
Japan, which resulted in the alliance of 1916, is furthc 
exemplified by Russia's agreement to sell Japan the southei 
half of the Kharbin -Changchun Railway, comprising a sectic 
of about 60 miles and including the line from Changchun 
the left bank of the Sungari. 

Japan has never accepted Russia's claim to exclude 


3ther foreigners from the navigation of the Sungari in accord- 
ance with the Treaty of Aigun, and Russia now recognizes 
the right of Japanese shipping to navigate the Sungari 
between Kirin and Pet una. 

I Russian Advance in Mongolia 

The establishment of the 50-verst zone in 1881 gave a great 
stimulus to Russian peaceful penetration into Chinese territory 
south of the Yeniseisk Government. Several Russian towns, 
of which Turanski is the chief, have sprung up over the border 
and Russian settlers are increasing. The natives prefer to 
resort to the Russian schools and courts, where they are 
better treated. Similarly the Russian merchants are said not 
to exploit them to nearly the same extent as the Chinese, 
who profit by their vices. But the success of the process 
depends on the tact of the officials. Since the war they are 
said to have become more autocratic. Hence the natives are 
growing discontented and retiring further south. 

Meanwhile the Chinese are steadily colonizing Mongolia. 
This movement, like their immigration into Siberia, is pro- 
bably economic in origin, whatever results it may ultimately 
bring about. It has, however, caused great dissatisfaction 
among the nomad Mongols who have also suffered from the 
Chinese methods of trading. On the overthrow of the Manchu 
dynasty in 1912 the Mongol chiefs claimed their independence, 
holding that they owed no allegiance to its successors. 

A Russo-Mongolian agreement was signed on Oct. 21, 1912, 
recognizing the autonomy of Mongolia, but it was challenged 
by China, who insisted on her sovereign rights over Mongolia. 
In 1913 Russia admitted China's claim to suzerainty in Mon- 
golia on condition that Mongolian autonomy was recognized. 
By this agreement Russia secured for herself substantial 
privileges in that country. The agreement does not appear to 
have been received with much favour by the Mongols. 


Weights and Measures 

1 dolya 

1 zolotnik (96 dol.) 
1 lot (3 zol.) 
1 flint (96 zol.) 
1 pud (40 fimts) 

Measures of weight 
0-68 grains 
0-15 oz. av. 
0-45 oz. av. 
0-902 lb. 
0-32 cwt. 

(36-11 lb. av.) 

1 berkovets (10 puds) 3-22 cwt. 


4-44 centigrams 

4-26 grams 
12-79 grams 

0-409 kilograms 
16-38 kilograms 

163-804 kilograms 

1 dyuim 


1 vershok 

1 arshin (16 v.) 

1 sazhen (3 ar.) 

Measures of length 

1-75 in. 
2 ft. 4 in. 

7 ft. (in liquid depth 
1 fathom) 

25-4 millimetres 
304-8 millimetres 
4-44 centimetres 
0*71 metres 
2-13 metres 

1 verst (500 sazh.) 3,500 ft., or 0-6628 mile 1-06 kilometres 

Measures of area 

1 sq. arshin 5-44 sq. ft. 

1 sq. sazhen 5-44 sq. yd. (49 

sq. ft.) 

1 desyatin (2,400 sq. 2-7 acres 


1 sq. verst (250,000 281-221 acres 

sq. sazh.) 

4-54 sq. metres 
1-09 hectares 
113-80 hectares 


Measures of volume 

1 cubic vershok 

5-35 c. in. 

87-81 c.c. 

1 cubic arshin 

0-47 c. yd. 

0-35 c. metre 

1 cubic sazhen 

12-70 c. yd. 
Liquid measures 

9-71 c. metres 

1 charka 

0-21 pints 

0-12 litres 

1 bottle (5 ch.) 

1-08 pints 

0-61 litres 

1 shtof (10 ch.) 

1-08 quarts 

1-22 litres 

1 vedro (100 ch.) 

2-706 gallons 

12-29 litres 

1 bochka (40 ved.) 

108-27 gallons 
Dry measures 

4-91 hectolitres 

1 garnets 

2-88 gallons 

3-27 litres 

1 chetverik (8g.) 

0-72 bush. 

26-23 litres 

1 diet vert (8 chk.) 

5-77 bush. 


Measures of weight. 

2-09 hectolitres 



1 oz. 

6-64 zolotniks 


1-107 funt 

1 cwt. 

3-104 puds 

1 ton 

62-02 puds 
Measures of length 

1 in. 

0-57 vershok 


0-42 sazh. or 1-28 arsh. 

1 mile 

' 1-508 versts or 754-28 sazh. 

Measures of area 

1 sq. yd. 

0-18 sq. sazh. 

1 acre 

888-97 sq. sazh. or 

0-37 desyatin 

1 sq. mile 

2-27 sq. versts or 

237-06 desyatins 


I cubic yd, 

Measures of volume 
0-078 cubic sazh, 



1 pint 
1 quart 
1 gallon 

Liquid measures 
4-61 charka 
9-23 charka 
0-36 vedro 

Dry measures 

1 gallon 
1 bushel 
1 quarter 
1 chaldron 

0-34 garnets 
1-38 chetverik 
11-08 chetverik 
6-23 chetvert 

It is reported that the Russian Government has decided to 
introduce the metric system in August 1921 and to prohibit 
the use of the old system of weights and measures from 
January 1, 1925. 


The legal unit is the silver rouble of 100 kopeks. It is 
treated usually as the equivalent of 2s. Id. in our currency, 
but the exchange is very variable. In this book for all 
large sums and round numbers 2s. has been taken as the 
equivalent ; in official calculations 9-46 roubles are taken as 
equal to the pound sterling. Gold coins are the imperial and 
half imperial of 15 and 7J roubles. New gold coins are 
issued bearing the inscription of 10 roubles and 5 roubles. 
Besides the silver rouble, credit notes (500, 100, 50, 25, 10, 
5, 3, and 1 rouble) are legal tender. Paper money of all 
denominations down to one kopek has been in use since the 
outbreak of the war. 


Local mean times are used throughout Siberia. Irkutsk 
time is 6 hrs. 57 min. 15 sec. fast, and Vladivostok time 
8 hrs. 47 min. 34-5 sec. fast on Greenwich mean time. Russia 
in Europe uses Petrograd time, which is that of Pulkova 
Observatory, 2 hrs. 1 min. 18-7 sec. fast on Greenwich mean 



The Julian calendar is still in use in Russian lands. It is 
13 days behind the Gregorian calendar used in other countries, 
Throughout this book, unless old style (O.S.) has been stated, 
all dates are given in the Gregorian calendar. 

It was reported in 1918 that the Gregorian calendar was to 
be adopted throughout Russian lands. 

a a 


This glossary contains Russian and other words frequently 
used in the text, including words, with their usual abbrevia- 
tions, which occur on Russian maps. In the case of adjectives 
the masculine termination (-») is given. The neuter termina- 
tion is generally -oe, and the feminine -aya. 

Aba, tomb of local hero (Kirghiz). 

Artel, group of workers ; trade union. 

Aul, encampment. 

Balagan, hut of wood and thatch. 

Balog, family sledge. 

Boloto, marsh. 

Bolshoi, Bol., great. 

Bor, hill, sometimes pine forest. 

Brat, brother. 

Brodyagi, escaped convicts. 

Byeli, white. 

Cherni, black. 

Chernozem, black earth. 

Chud, primitive inhabitants of Siberia. 

Chum, Samoyede or Ostyak tent. 

Dekabrists, those who took part in the plot of Dec. 14, 1825. 

Derevnya, village without church. 

Dobrovolni, voluntary followers of exiles. 

Doroga, road. 

Drozhki, cab. 

Dukhobors, sect, ' spiritual fighters.' 

Duma, council or council chamber. 

Dur, dying of the water on the Ob, &c, see Vol. II. Chap. V. 

Fabrika, factory. 

Forpost, F„ military outpost. 

Gora, G., mountain. 

Gorbusha, kind of salmon. 

Gorod, town. 

Guba, bay. 


Gubemiya, government. 

Ispravnik, official in charge of district ; police commissioner. 

Izba, winter hut. 

Kamen, rock ; stone, or cliff. 

Karaul, Kar., picket-station ; guard-house. 

Kayak, skin boat for one man. 

Kedr, white cedar or cembra pine. 

Kereoshka, boat-sledge drawn by reindeer. 

Kerka, log-house of Zirians. 

Keta, kind of salmon. 

Khodok, advance agent of emigrants. 

Khiebet, mountain range. 

Kolodnik, convict. 

Kozha, leather ; a Lapp name for seals. 

Krasni, red. 

Kul, lake. 

Kumis, fermented mare's milk. 

Kurgan, tumulus ; burial mound. 

Kuropatka, willow-grouse. 

Kvas, intoxicant made from barley. 

Lyeto, summer. 

Mali, Mai., small. 

Maralnik, farm where maral deer are kept. 

Mir, village assembly. 

Mis, cape ; headland. 

Mogila, Mog„ tomb. 

More, sea. 

Navaga, kind of cod. 

Nizhni, lower. 

Nos, headland. 

Novi, new. 

Nyelma, kind of salmon. 

Oblast, territory. 

Ostrog, block-house ; stockade. 

Ostrova, island. 

Otrassl, Otr., mining settlement in Urals 

Ozero, lake. 




Pagost, Lapp settlement. 

Pereket, Per., sand-bank or bar. 

Pereval, Per., pass. 

Perevoz, ferry. 

Piket, Pik., P., picket station. 

Pless, straight reaches of a winding river. 

Pochtovaya kontora, post-office. 

Poch. stanitsa, posting station. 

Pogost, church without village. 

Pogron, government tax. 

Polustantsia, intermediate station or stage. 

Porog, rapid on a river. 

Posad, Pos., suburb. 

Povarnya, Povarni, post-station on i emote road. 

Poviet, storeshed. 

Pristan, Pr., landing-place. 

Proliv, strait. 

Raskolnik, dissenter. 

Rasputitsa, season impossible for travel. 

Razdvoenie, railway junction or crossing. 

Razyezdni puti, railway siding. 

Ryeka, river. 

Samovolni, voluntary emigrants. 

Sast, town dweller of Turkish origin. 

Selo, village with church. 

Shar, strait. 

Sklad, Ski., warehouse or depot. 

Skoptsi, eunuchs, a fanatical sect. 

Sori, shallow backwater. 

Sredni, middle. 

Stanitsa, Stan., station ; Cossack post. 

Stari, old. 

Starovyeri, old believers. 

Svyatoi, holy. 

Syeverni, north. 

Taiga, coniferous forest. 

Tarantass, four-wheeled carriage. 


Tarine, freezing to the bottom of certain rivers. 

Telega, cart. 

Tolsti, thick. 

Trakt, great Siberian road. 

Treska, cod. 

Troika, team of horses. 

Tundra, swampy, treeless Arctic plains. 

Tup a, winter dwelling of Lapps. 

Uba, tomb of local hero (Kirghiz). 

Urman, swampy thickets. 

Urus, Yukaghir tent. 

Uste, Ust-, river mouth. 

Uyezd, district. 

Verkhni, upper. 

Viezha, summer dwelling of Lapps. 

Viski, channel between lakes. 

Volok, isthmus ; portage. 

Volost, canton or cantonal assembly. 

Vostok, east. 

Yamshchik, posting driver. 

Yar, cliff; bluff. 

Yarus, great lines used in fishing. 

Yassak, tribute. 

Yug, south. 

Yurta, Yurt, tent. 

Zaimishche, Zaim., low ground between river and hills. 

Zaimka, Z., settlement of one or a few houses. 

Zaliv, strait. 

Zamor, the dying of the waters, see dur. 

Zapad, west. 

Zavod, factory. 

Zemlya, land. 

Zemstvo, provincial assembly. 

Zhelyeznaya doroga, Zhel., railway. 

Zhelyezoplavilni zavod, Zhel., iron foundry. 

Zherlo, mouth. 

Zimia, winter. 

Zimove, winter dwelling. 


Abakan R., 40, 272 
Abakanskoe, 272 
Achinsk, 331, 344, 350, 

Achinsk district, 239, 

251, 250, 311 
Administration, 310- 

Adun-Chclonsk Mt., 290 
Agan R., 80 
Agriculture, 33, 193- 

190, 232-247, 300 
Aigun, 354, 304 
Aigun, Treaty of, 302 
Ainov I., 308 
Akhatolskaya mines, 

Akmolinsk, 331, 352 
Akmolinsk district, 301 
Akmolinsk Province : 
309, 310, 312 
agriculture, 234, 

247, 203 
manufactures, 312 
population, 200, 201 
stock-raising, 248, 
Aksha district, 241, 312 
Albazin, 89, 300 
Aldan Mts., 19 
Aldan R., 40, 70, 244, 

283, 291 
Alei R., 290 
Aleks- : see also Alex- 
Aleksandrovskoe, 303 
Aleksyeevsk, 235, 240, 

348, 349, 355 
Aleuts, 128 
Alexandrovsk (Kola), 

214, 330, 332 
Alexandrovsk (Sakha- 

administration, 312 

climate, 38 
industry, 270 
minerals, 292 
population, 214 
telegraphs, 330 
Alexis Mikhailovieh, 

Tsar, 188 
I Altai Mts. : 

agriculture, 234, 

climate, 32 
fauna, 52, 54, 50, 

57, 252 
minerals, 275, 284, 

285, 290 
vegetation, 40, 49, 
Altai Railway, 350, 352 
Altaians, 150-159 
Altaiskaya, 350 
Amga R., 40, 288 
Amgun R, 54, 272, 275, 

Amur Bay, 292 
Amur Bridge, 348 
Amur estuary, 81 
Amur goldfields, 282, 

Amur Govt., 312 
Am m- Province : 

309, 310 
agriculture, 239- 

242, 240, 247 
colonization, 203 
industry, 205, 270, 

minerals, 282, 288, 

stock-raising, 248, 
251, 253, 255, 250 
Amur Railway, 335, 

342, 347-349, 304 
Amur region : 

climate, 32, 33, 37 I 

fauna, 53, 55, 50, 

57, 87, 91 
history, 300-302 
industries, 205, 266, 

minerals, 272 
vegetation, 47 
Amur R., 24 

colonization, 20, 


330, 333 
fisheries, 80-83 
freezing, 40, 41 
Anabar R., 41 
Anadir Bay, 78 
Anadir district, 284, 312 
Anadir R., 41 
Anaul, 114 

Angara district, 80, 280 
Angara R., 41, 209, 272, 

Angara R., Upper, 74, 

Antimony, 288 
Anyui fair, 89 
Anzherski mine, 290 
Apiculture, 250, 257 
Ara Bay, 00 
Aral Sea, 32 
Arctic Railway, 353 
Arctic Russia, 53, 01, 
Argun R., 41, 274, 290 
Arkhangel, 30, 35, 332, 

Arkhangel Govt.. 305, 

307, 308 
Arkhangel Railway, 352 
Asbestos, 280 
Askold I., 50, 284 
Atbasar, 207, 274, 331, 

Atbasar dist., 232, 312 
Atbasar R., 39 

Atmospheric pressure, 

Australia : 

trade, 267, 268 
Avacha Bay, 77 
Avakum, 203 
Ayaguz R., 39 
Ayakhta R., 288 
Ayamskoe L., 288 
Ayan, 37 



lidaratskaya Gulf, 354 
Baikal, 344, 345 
Baikal L., 26, 269 
climate, 31, 33 

fauna, 59 
fisheries, 74 
minerals, 287, 291, 
Baikal Mts., 296 
Balagansk dist., 251, 

Baleginsk, 272 
Balei R., 41 
Balkhash L., 30 
Baraba steppe, 27 
agriculture, 233 
fauna, 54 
minerals, 294, 295 
vegetation, 49 
Barabash, 244 
Barents Sea, 354 
Barguzin district, 54, 

203, 275, 312 
Barguzin goldfields, 282 
Barguzin R., 41, 74 
Barim, 346 
Barnaul : 

administration, 311 
agriculture, 235- 

climate, 36 

331, 350 
industry, 257, 298, 

300-302, 304 
trade, 92, 260 
Barnaul district, 236, 
237, 311 


Baron Korfa Gulf, 293 j 
Baruntorei L., 294 
Beketov, 360 
Beltirs, 153 
Berekul mine, 280 
Berezov, 30, 330, 358 
Berezov district : 

administration, 311 . 
agriculture, 232 
fauna, 86 
fisheries, 71 
minerals, 289 
population, 207 
Bering I., 333 
Bezpopovists, 190, 204 ! 
| Big R„ 274 
jBiisk, 331 
i Biisk district : 

administration, 311 
agriculture, 235, 

236, 238 
apiculture, 256 
fauna, 61 

industries, 298, 302 
Biliktui R., 41 
Birar, 180 
Birds, 60-62 
Biryusa R., 41 
Biya R., 39 
Blagodat, 284 
Blagoslovennoe, 204 
Blagovyeshchensk : 

administration, 312 
agriculture, 240- 

climate, 38 
communications, ! 

history, 360, 364 
industry, 267, 269, 

minerals, 276, 2*3 
stock-raising, 251, . 

trade, 89 
Bochkarevo, 240 
Bodaibo, 276, 281, 282, 

330, 351, 354 
Bogom-Darovanni mine, 

Bogoras, Dr., 190 
Bogoslovski, 36, 271, 
274, 288 


Bogoslovski Railway, 

Bolshaya Volokovaya 

Bay, 214 
Bolshoi-Patom, 282 
Borzinsk L., 294 
Borzya, 345 
Boshagoch R,, 288 
Boundaries, 15, 309, 

Bozhe L., 73 
Bratski-Ostrog, 272 
British interests in Si- 
beria, 258, 273, 274, 

277, 280, 290 
Buddhists, 220 
Building stone, 295 
Bureya, 240 
Bureya goldfields, 282, 

Bureva valley, 267, 275, 

291, 349 
Burlinskoe L., 294 
Burukanskaya, 89 
Buryats, 169-172, 226, 

Buryatskava, 345 
Buse, 359/361 
Byeguni, 219 
Byela valley, 256 
ByelayaR.,41, 296 
Byelokurikha springs, 



Cables, 331, 332 
Calendar, 369 
Camels, 254 
Cattle, 250-252 
Caucasus Mts., 273, 284 
Changchun, 342 
Chani L., 67, 72 
Chapogir, 178 
Charish R., 39, 296 
Chelyabinsk, 195, 199, 

235, 329, 343 
Chemashevskoe, 353 
Cheremkhovskoc, 239, 

290, 303 
Chernozem, 49 
Chikoi R,, 41, 291 
Chima R., 41 



China : 

trade, 208,209,304, 
Chinese, 208-210, 245, 

300, 360-305 
Chinese Eastern Rail- 
way, 328, 341, 342, 

347, 354, 303 
Chinese industries. 304 
Chita, 52, 251, 267. 312, 

330, 331 
Chita district, 203, 295, 

Chlya L., 275, 284 
Chnuirrakh Point, 330 
Chodinski, 282 
Chuguchak, 331 
Chukchee, 96-106, 224, 

Chukchee Peninsula, 

255, 284 
Chukotsk district, 312 
Chulim, 343 
Chulim R., 39, 71, 250, 

291, 343 
Chuinish R., 286 
Chuvanzi, 114 
Circumbaikal Railway, 

343, 344 
Clergy, 217 
Climate, 28-43 
Climatic regions, 34-38 
Coal, 288-293, 307 
Coasts, 27 
Commander Is., 59, 78, 

80, 312, 333 
Copper, 273, 274, 307 
Cossacks, 187, 200-203, 

205, 317, 357-361 
Crimean War, 361 
Currency, 368 


Daircn, 341, 363, 364 
Dairy industry, 257-260 
Daurians, 182 
de Castries Bay, 330, 

332, 355, 361 
Dekabrists, 202 
Denmark : 

trade, 259, 260, 268 
Dep R., 291 
Dczhnev, 359 

Dezhneva Cape, 287, 333 

I Dickson I., 333 

I Diseases, 228-230 

I Dissenters, 219 
Distilling and brewing, 

Diya R., 348 
Dogs, 328, 329 
Dolgans, 163 
Doroninsk L., 295 
Doukhobors, 220 
Dudinka, 290 
Due, 273, 292, 330 
Dvina R., Northern, 25, 

66, 307 
Dzhigit Bay, 274 
Dzhila R., 288 
Dzhugdzhur Mts., 49 
Dzungarian trench, 20 

Early conquerors, 358 
Ediger Khan, 357 
Ekibas-tusc mines, 289, 

Eri, 59 
Eskimo, 100 
Exile system, 188, 197 

Factories, 299-304 

Fauna, 51-92 

Fedorova, 352 

Ferries, 325, 32(i 

Finns : 

in Arctic Russia, 213 
in Siberia, 199 

Finns, Volga, 137 

Fisheries, 62-85 

Flora : see Vegetation 

Fort St. Michael (Alas- 
ka), 333 

Fram, 29, 30, 35 

Franz Josef Land, 35 

Freezing of rivers, 38-43 

Frolikha L., 74 

Fur, 85-41, 307 

Game, 91 

Gavrilova Bav, 214 
Gedik, 349 

Germany : 

trade, 200, 273. 286 

Gilui R„ 283 

Gilyaks, 84, 121-126 

Gizhiga Bay, 78, 293 

Gizhiga district, 312 

Gizhiga R., 41 

Glass and china, 302 

Goats, 253 

Gold, 275-284 

Goldi, 184-186 

Gondatti, 240 

Gondatti, Gov. -Gen., 

Graphite, 287 

Great Britain : 

trade, 260, 204, 
267, 268, 286 

Great Khingan Range, 
19, 20, 346, 348 

Green Harbour (Spits- 
bergen), 332 

Grigorevski, 331 

Grodekovo, 347 

Gurevskoe, 272 

Gusinoe L., 291 

Harbin : see Kharbin 
Hokushu, 332 
Horses, 249, 250, 322 
Hunghuses, 211 

Ildekanski, 288 
Ilga R., 41 
Him R., 41 
Iman, 333 
Iman district, 3 1 2 
Imandra L., 66 
Immigration, 191-196 
Imperatorskaya Bay, 

85, 268, 355 
Indigirka R., 24, 41, 50, 

91, 359 
Industry, 256, 270, 297- 

304, 314 
Ingd (Norway), 332 
Ingoda R., 41, 42, 288, 

291, 345, 347 
Irbit, 87, 88, 253, 353 
Irbit fair, 87-89 
Irbit R,, 39 

Iret R., 290 

Irkutsk : 

t administration, 311 
agriculture, 239 
climate, 30 
330, 344, 345, 354 
industry, 209, 298- 
trade, 89 
Irkutsk Province : 

309, 311 
agriculture, 240, 

colonization, 201 
fauna, 87 
industry, 204 
minerals, 281, 295, 

stock-raising, 248, 
251, 253-255 
Iron, 271-273, 307 
Irrigation, 234, 241 
Irtish R., 20, 25 

agriculture, 237 
330, 331, 343, 
351, 354 
fisheries, 07, 09 
freezing, 39 
minerals, 293 
vegetation, 40 
Iset R., 40, 274 
Ishim : 

administration, 311 
climate, 30 

industry, 98 
trade, 87 
Ishim R., 40, 343 
Ishim steppe, 32, 49, 54, 

Ivan the Terrible, 358 
Ivory, fossil, 92 
Iya R., 42 

Japan : 

interests in Siberia, 
79, 304, 305 


i trade. 78, 84, 208, 

269, 304 
Japanese, 211, 299 
Jews, 220 


Kada L., 27 
Kadainski silver-works, 

285, 288 
Kaibals, 154 
Kainsk, 200, 257 
Kainsk district, 234, 

250, 311 
Kalami R., 281 
Kalmuks, 150 
Kamassins, 154 
Kamchadals, 117-121 
Kamchatka : 

310, 312 

climate, 32, 33, 37 

colonization, 205 

330, 333 

fauna, 53, 54, 50, 

fisheries, 70-80 

history, 359 

minerals, 273, 274, 
283, 288, 293, 

population, 208 

vegetation, 48 

volcanoes, 18 
Kamchatka valley, 245, 

Kamen, 235 
Kamishta R., 280 
Kampentszyaika R., 294 
Kan R., 42, 287 
Kandakova, 287 
Kandalaksha, 04, 332, 

Kanin Nos, 332 
Kanin Peninsula, 33, 06 
Kansk, 195,311,344 
Kara Sea, 59, 65 
Karabas L., 293 
Karachi, 235 
Karagan R., 286 
Karagandinsk mine, 289 
Karagassis, 154 
Karclians, 131-133 


Karimskaya, 344, 345 
Karkaralinsk, 207, 272 
Karkaralinsk district, 

274, 313 
Karmakul, 35 
Kartisak R., 40 
Katun R., 280 
Kern, 35, 04, 00, 332, 

Kerak, 348 
Kerbinski, 333 
Keret, 64, 305 
Kerkidal spur, 344 
Khabarov, 187, 300 
Khabarovsk : 

administration, 312 

climate, 38 

330, 333, 348, 349 

fisheries, 81-83 

forestry, 312 

history, 360 

industry, 302, 303 

trade, 252 
Khaipudirskaya Bay, 

Khaita, 302 

Range, 344 

Khara-Ulakh R., 42 
Khara valley, 250 
Kharbin, 240, 241, 329, 

340, 355, 363 

Railway, 364 
Kharkov, 252 
Khatanga R., 42 
Khilok R., 42, 291, 345, 

Khlusti, 220 
Kholmogor, 300 
Khor R, 42 
Kile, 180 
Kiparisov, 347 
Kiransk L., 295 
Kirenga R., 42, 272 
Kirensk district, 87, 31 1 
Kirghiz, 100-103 
Kirghiz steppes, 27 

agriculture, 233 

fauna, 52, 57 



fisheries, 67 

industry, 86, 297 

minerals, 272-274, 

vegetation, 50 
Kishtim mines, 284, 288 
Kiya R., 40, 343 
Kizi L., 27 

Klyuchevskaya Mt., 18 
Knyaz Bay, 64 
Kobdo, 331 
Kochenevo, 235 
Kokchetav, 207, 232, 

312, 353 
Kola, 35, 214 
Kola Inlet, 214, 305 
Kola Peninsula, 24 

climate, 35 

332, 351 

fauna, 66 

minerals, 307, 308 
Kolehugino, 290, 350 
Kolezhma, 65 
Kolguev L, 66 
Kolima R., 24 

agriculture, 245 

fisheries, 75 

freezing, 42 

industry, 265 

minerals, 274 
Kolimsk Mts., 21 
Kolivan, 304 
Kondinskoe, 330 
Kondom R., 71 
Konstantinovskaya, 274 
Kopal, 331 
Korea, 268 
Koreans, 204, 210, 212, 

Korsakov, 361 
Koryakov L., 293 
Koryaks, 96, 106-113 
Kosh-Agach, 331 
Kostroma, 354 
Kovda, 64 
Kozachinskoe, 330 
Krasnoufimsk, 354 
Krasnovodsk, 331 
Krasnoyarsk : 

administration, 311 

climate, 36 

com munications, 

industry, 299, 301, 

minerals, 276, 287 
trade, 74, 239 
Kruglikov, 349 
Kuan-cheng-tsu, 341, 
i Kuenga, 347 
Kuenga R., 347 
Kukhtui R.. 42 
Kulachinskoe, 235 
Kulcha, 89 
Kuldzha, 331 
Kultuk, 331, 344 
Kulundinsk steppes, 350 
Kumarskaya, 361 
Kunerma, 354 
Kurgan : 

administration, 311 
agriculture, 235, 

climate, 36 
industry, 257, 259, 
298, 300, 301 
Kuril Is., 364 
Kustanai, 352 
Kustarni industries, 

Kuta R., 42 
| Kuznetsk, 298, 350 
Kuznetsk district : 

administration, 311 
agriculture, 238 
fisheries, 71 
industry, 256 
minerals, 290 
timber, 263 
| Kyakhta : 

climate, 37 

20, 354 
trade, 89, 301, 314 
Kyundyaya R., 294 

Lagar-Aul Mts., 348 

Lakes, 26 

Lamut, 178 

Land tenure, 193-196, 

Lapps, 128-131,213 

Lazarev Cape, 330, 331 
Lead, 285 
Lefu valley, 205 
Lena R., 24, 25, 265 
agriculture, 244 

330, 354 
fauna, 56, 58 
fisheries, 75 
freezing, 42 
history, 359 
minerals, 272, 274, 
275, 290, 291, 
295, 354 
population, 207 
vegetation, 47 
Local Government, 3 11- 

Lower Tunguska R. : 

see Angara R. 
Lozva R., 286 
Lyavozcrski, 130 


Malaya -Bistray a valley, 

Malinovka, 240 

Malinovskaya Cape, 345 

Mama R., 287 

Mammals, 52-60 

Manchu, 183, 204 

Manchuria, 345-348, 364 

Manegir, 179 

Manganese, 288 

Mangut, 331 

Maniza : see Voguls 

Manses, 204, 209 

Manzi : see Manses 

Manzurskava, 330 

Maps, 13-14 

Maral deer, 255 

Mare-Sale Cape, 332 

Mariinsk, 344, 361 

Mariinsk district : 

administration, 311 
agriculture, 234, 

fisheries, 81 
minerals, 280, 286 
vegetation, 263 

Maritime Province : 
310, 312 

agriculture, 239, 
colonization, 204 
fauna, 87 
industry, 256, 260, 

270, 304 
minerals, 273, 274, 

283, 291, 292 
stock-raising, 251, 

vegetation, 265, 
267, 269 
Marka-Kul L., 67 
Markovo, 78, 245, 333 
Martuk Station, 352 
Maya R., 42, 76 
Mercury, 288 
Mergen, 355 
Mczen, Gulf of, 65 
Mezen R., 66, 307 
Mica, 287 
Minusinsk, 301, 304, 

331, 350 
Minusinsk district : 

administration, 311 
agriculture, 239, 

colonization, 201 
minerals, 274, 288, 

291, 295 
stock-raising, 251, 
Mir, 315-317 
Mishkina, 235 
Misovaya, 344, 354 
Misovsk, 272 
Miyas district, 280 
Mohammedans, 220 
Molchalyniki, 220 
Molokani, 204, 220 
Mongol-Dabanski mines, 

Mongolia, 365 
Mongolian frontier, 287 
Mongugai coal-field, 292 
Mordvinians, 137 
Moscow : 

trade 82, 88, 250 
Motors, 153 
Mramorni Point, 273 
Mukden, 329 
Muravie v- Amurski , 
Count, 340, 357. 36 1 



Murman coast, 62-64, 

213, 307, 332 
Murman Railway, 334, 

351, 352, 353 
Murmansk, 214, 332, 

Myandukhe, 346 


Nadezhdinskaya, 347 

Nadezhdinski works,353 

Nagasaki, 331 

Nai R., 282 

Nakhodka Bay, 304 

Narim, 36 

Narim district : 

colonization, 207 
fauna, 61, 254 
fisheries, 71 
industry, 86 
vegetation, 238 

Nayakhanskoe, 333 

Negda, 180 

Neo-Siberians, 95, 222, 

Nercha R., 42 

Nerchinsk : 

climate, 38 
fauna, 54 
history, 360 
minerals, 286 

Nerchinsk district, 241, 

Nerchinsk Range, 296 

Nerchinsk, Treaty of, 

Nerchinski Zavod, 312 

Nevelski, 361 

Nevelski district, 310 

New Siberia Is., 92 

Nicaea, Council of, 218 

Nikon, 190, 216 

Nikolaevsk : 

administration, 310 
agriculture, 241 
climate, 30, 38 

330, 333, 355 
fauna, 52 
fisheries, 82, 83 


history, 340, 361, 

minerals, 276 
trade, 89, 266 
Nikolaevsk district, 80, 

81, 265 
Nikolsk-Ussuriski : 

agriculture, 243,244 

347, 349, 350 
industry, 25<>, 302 
trade, 252 
Niman R., 283 
Nizhne-Kolimsk, 207, 

Nizhne -Novgorod, 88, 

Nizhne-Sharonai, 287 
Nizhne-Tagilski, 288 

Nizhne-Udinsk, 344 
Nizhne-Udinsk district, 

Nome (Alaska), 333 
Norwegians, 213 
Novaya-Kuka, 291 
Novaya Zemlya, 35 
Novi-Selenginsk, 37, 294 
Novo-Kievskoe, 331 
Novo-Mariinsk, 333 
Novo-Nikolaevsk : 
colonization, 207 

331, 350 
fauna, 61 
industry, 235, 236, 

269, 301, 303 
trade, 251, 259 
Nyandoma, 352 
Nyetovsti, 220 
Nyukhcha, 65 

Ob, 344 

Ob basin, 46, 66-71 
Ob R., 24-26 

330, 343, 353 

fisheries, 66-71 

freezing, 40 

minerals, 289 

vegetation, 46 



Obdorsk, 35, 71, 80, 333, 

Odzhal, L., 27 

Oil, 303 : sec also Petro- 

Oka R., 42, 272 

Okhotsk : 

administration, 312 
climate, 30, 38 
colonization, 208 

330, 333 
fisheries, 76-80 
history, 359, 362 

Okhotsk, Sea of, 245, 

Olcha, 181 

Olekma R., 42, 54, 244 
Olekminsk, 31, 37, 244, 

Olekminsk goldfields, 

275, 282 
Olcnek R., 42 
Olennyc, 178 
Olgi Bay : 

climate, 38 
colonization, 205 

industry, 255, 304 
minerals, 272, 273, 
Olgi district, 312 
Olovyannaya, 287 
OmR.,40, 71 
Omolon R., 24 
Omsk : 

administration, 309, 

communications , 
319, 326, 330, 

331, 34+ 
industry, 237, 257, 

269, 300-304 
trade, 250, 259, 260 
Omsk district, 237, 312 
Onega, 66, 306, 307 
Onon R., 42, 274, 296 
Orenburg, 293, 331 
Orenburg Govt,, 309 
Oroche, 183 
Orochon, 178 
Orokc, 181 

Orsk, 283, 352 
Osmiridium, 288 
Ostyak-Samoyedes, 148 
Ostyaks, Ugrian, 138- 

Ostyaks of Yenisei, 126- 



Pai-Khoi Range, 24 
Palaeo-Sibcrians, 95, 

222, 223, 225 
Pavlodar, 72, 235, 350 
Pavlodar district, 232, 

Pechenga, 332 
Pcchenga Gulf, 214 
Pechora R., 25 

agriculture, 306 

353, 354 
fisheries, 66 
industry, 305, 308 
stock-raising, 307 
Peking Convention, 362, 

Pelim valley, 263 
Penzhina Bay, 77, 78, 

Penzhina R., 42 
Pereemnaya, 291 
Perm, 302 
Perm Govt., 309 
Pcrmyaks, 137 
Pervaya Ryeka, 337 
Peter the Great, 217 
Peter the Great Bay, 85 
Peterhead (Scotland), 

Pctrograd : 

trade, 78, 250 
Petroleum, 287 
Pctropavlovsk : 

administration, 312 
agriculture, 245 
climate, 30, 31,38 

industry, 235, 301, 

trade, 250, 251, 300, 

Pctropavlovsk district 
232, 237, 245, 312 

Petrozavodsk, 351 

Philippovsti, 219 

Pigs, 253 

Pi'levo R., 293 

Pinega, 306, 353 

Pishma R., 40 

Pitski Mts., 286 

Platinum, 286 

Podorozhna, 321 

Pogobi Cape, 330. 332 

Pogranichnaya, 346 

Poles, 199 

Poletaevo, 352 

Polovinnaya, 303, 344 

Polui R., 40 

Pomorski coast, 64 

Ponoi, 59 

Popovists, 190 

Port Arthur, 341, 363, 

Portsmouth, Treaty of, 

Port Vladimir, 00 

Posiet Bay, 268, 304 

Posting system, 320- 

Pottery, 303 

Poyarkov, 360 

Precipitation, 32, 35-38 

Prehistoric Races, 356 

Priamur, 240, 267, 269, 

Pribilov Is., 59 

Prikhankoisk basin, 349 

Primorsk : 

administration, 312 
agriculture, 239, 

colonization, 204 
fauna, 52, 56, 255 
lisbcrics, 84 
industry, 299, 301 
minerals, 283 
stock-raising, 248 

vegetation, 265 

Pronge, 81 

Protestants, 220 

Providence Bay, 32 

Pyasina R., 42 

Pyazina R., 40 


Radium, 288 
Railways, 334-340 : see 

also Siberian, Amur, 

Rakhmanovski spring, 


Reindeer, 103-106, 110, 
254, 327, 328 

Ribachi Peninsula, 332 

Riderski mines, 285, 351 

Rivers, 24-26, 32, 33, 

Roads, 319-326 

Robben I., 59 

Roman Catholics, 220 

Rovaniemi, 332 

Russian Orthodox 
Church, 216 

Russo-Japanese Agree- 
ment (1916), 364 

Russo-Japanese War, 

Sable, 90 

Sagastir, 29, 30, 35 
St. Paul, 333 
Saitkovo, 353 
Sakhalin : 

ad ministration ,309, 

310, 312 
agriculture, 244, 

climate, 32, 37 
colonization, 189, 


330, 332 
fauna, 55-57 
fisheries, 84 
history, 361, 364 
industry, 270 
minerals, 284, 287, 

291, 292 
stock-raising, 248 
trade, 304 
vegetation, 48, 265. 
Salt, 293-295 
Samara-Zlatoust Rail- 
way, 340 
Samoyedes, 146-153, 


Sanagir, 181 
Sanitation, 230, 231 
Sawmills, 269 
Sayansk Mts., 19, 49, 

55-57, 246, 265 
Seal fisheries, 58, 80 
Selemdzha district, 310 
Selenga plateau, 27 
Selenga R., 20 

colonization, 207 
fauna, 59 
fisheries, 74 
freezing, 42, 43 
Selenginsk district, 203, 

Semeika, 69, 70, 312 
Semipalatinsk : 

administration, 313 
agriculture, 235 
climate, 38 

331, 350, 352 
industry, 300, 301 
Semipalatinsk district, 

Semipalatinsk Territory : 
309, 310, 313 
agriculture, 232, 

minerals, 274, 280, 

293, 295 
population, 200, 201 
stock-raising, 248, 

249, 252 
vegetation, 263 
Sergiopol, 331 
Shamanism, 220-227 
Shamanski spur, 344 
Shanogir : see Sanogir 
Sheep, 252, 253 
Shenkursk district, 305, 

Shilka R., 43, 291, 295, 

330, 345, 347 
Shilkinski, 286 
Shizhnaya, 65 
Shors, 160 
Shuya, 65 
Siberian Railway, 330, 

334, 338-347 
Sikhota Alin Range, 48. 
330, 349 


Siktyakh, 245 

Silver, 284, 285 

Sisertsk district, 274 

Skoptsi, 191, 220, 244 

Slavgorod, 350 

Sledging, 326-329 

Slyudyanka R., 295 

Sofiisk, 38, 355 

Solons, 183 

Solovetski, 332 

Soroka, 65, 351, 353 

Sosnovets I., 332 

Sosva R., 40, 286 

South Manchurian Rail- 
way, 342 

South Muya Range, 19 

South Siberian Railway, 

South Ussuri district, 

Soyots, 154 

Spasskaya, 270 

Sredne-Kolimsk, 260, 

Sredne-Kolimsk dis- 
trict, 312 

Stanovoi Mts., 19, 20, 49 

Steppe Govt., 38, 200, 
309, 310, 312 

Stock-breeding, 306, 307 

Stranniki, 219 

Stryetensk, 195, 330 

Suchan mines, 292 

Suchan valley, 205, 

Sudzhenka, 290 

Suifun R., 43, 205 

Sukhona volok, 65 

Sumski, 65 

Sungacha valley, 205 

Sungari R., 241, 365 

Suputinka R., 43 

Surazhevka, 349 

Surgut district, 71, 86, 

Sviyagino, 270 

Svyatoi Nos, 332 

Tagilski district, 274 
Tahcheng : see Chugu- 

Taiga, 45-48 



Taimir R., 43 
Talaya R., 295 
Talienwan : see Dairen 
Tanneries, 300 
Tara, 330, 354 
Tara district, 238, 311 
Tara R., 280 
Tarbagatai : see Chugu- 

Tartars, 155-160 
Tartary, Straits of, 332 
Tashkent, 331 
Tatarskaya, 235, 350 
Tavda R., 40, 263, 301 
Tavgi, 147 
Taz, Gulf of, US 
Taz R., 40, 357 
Telbes R., 271 
Telegraphs, 826, 329- 

Teleuts, 159 
Telposiz Mt., 23 
Temperature, 29-31, 35- 

Teriberskaya Bay, 214 
Teriberski, 332 
Ternei Bay, 268 
Territories, 309 
Teya R., 281 
Tienshan Mts., 19, 32 
Tigda, 240 
Tigilski, 330, 333 
Timan Range, 23 
Timber, 261-270, 301, 

305, 306 
Time, 368 

Timovsk district, 312 
Tin, 287 

Tobol R., 40, 343 
Tobolsk : 

administration, 311 

climate, 30, 36 

330, 353 

fisheries, 70 

history, 358 

industry, 269, 298, 
301, 302 
Tobolsk district, 238, 

Tobolsk Govt. : 

administration , 

agriculture, 232. 

238, 247 
colonization, 198, 

fauna, 254 
industry, 298 
stock-raising, 248, 

vegetation, 263 
Todo Shima, 332 
Tolbuzin, 361 
Tolsti Nos., 35 
Tom R., 40, 71, 343 
Tomsk : 

administration, 31 1 
agriculture, 237, 238 
climate, 30, 36 

industry, 2(59, 298, 

stock-raising, 249, 
Tomsk district : 

agriculture, 230, 238 
industry, 256 
minerals, 280, 286 
Tomsk Govt. : 


agriculture, 234. 

236, 246 
colonization, 199, 

fauna, 55 
industry, 303 
minerals, 271, 293- 

stock-raising, 248, 

vegetation, 203 
Towns, 313 
Trade, 236, 314 
Trakt, 319 

Transbaikal Province : 
309, 310, 312 
agriculture, 239- 

"241, 247 
climate, 32 
colonization, 202, 

203, 210 
fauna, 57 

industry, 264, 299 
minerals, 282, 288, 

291, 294, 295 
steppes, 50 
stock-raising, 248- 

251, 253-355 
vegetation, 47 
Transbaikal Railway, 

342, 344-346 
Troitsk, 352 

35, 353 
Troitskosavsk, 331 
Troitskosavsk district, 

288, 294, 312 
Tsagan-Da Range, 345 
Tsagan-Khuntei Range, 

Tsitsihar, 340, 354 
Tuba R,, 43 
Tuloma R., 307 
Tulun, 354 
Tumen R., 302 
Tundra, 44, 4.1 
Tungus, 172-177 
Tunguska R., Lower. 

43, 207, 287, 291 
Tunkinsk, 331 
Tura, 52 
Turanski, 365 
Turgai Province, 20 1 , 

253, 309, 313 
Turinsk, 298, 353 
Turinsk district, 80, 238, 

Turkic tribes, 155 
Turukhan R,, 43 
Turukhansk, 33, 35. 330 
Turukhansk district : 
administration, 311 
industry, 80 
population, 201 
stock-raising, 251, 
Tyukalinsk district. 01, 

250, 311 
Tyumen : 

agriculture, 237 
colonization, 199 

330, 354 
history, 358 



industries, 257, 209, 

298, 300-303 
stock-raising, 249 
Tyumen district, 311 
Tyutikha Bay, 208, 285, 

Uchur R., 43 
Uda R., 20, 43, 245, 291 
Udsk district, 310, 312 
Udski-Ostrog, 245 
Ufalei, 354 
TJgra, 357 
Ugro-Samoyedes, 356, 

Ui R., 40 
Uigurs, 350 
Ukhta, 353 
Ukurei, 347 

Ulan-Burgasi Range, 19 
Unalaska, 333 
Uni Bolski R., 286 
United States : 

trade, 234, 209, 337 
Upper Tunguska R. : 

see Angara R. 
Ural Mts., 23, 271, 273, 
275, 280, 284, 280, 
288, 289, 293, 353, 
Ural Railway, 340 
Ural R., 72 
Uralsk, 201 
Urga, 354 
Uryankhai district, 33, 

Uryum, 348 
Usinsk district, 311 
Ussolye, 294, 301 
Ussuri Cossack district, 

Ussuri Railway. 347, 

349, 355 
Ussuri R. : 

agriculture, 241, 

243, 245 
colonization, 205, 


330, 349 
fauna, 50 
fisheries, 81 

freezing, 43 
history, 362 
Ust-Kamenogorsk, 280, 

303, 351 
Ust-Kamenogorsk dis- 
trict, 250, 313 
Ust-Kiranskaya, 294 
Ust-Kutskoe, 294, 354 
Ust-Orlinskaya, 285 
Ust-Zeya : see Blagov- 
yeshchensk : history 
Utkinski oilfields, 307' 

Vaigaeh, 332 
Vakh R., 8G 
Varsina R., 307 
Varzuga R.. 66 
Vasuigan swamps, .'52, 

Vegetation, 44-50 
Vehicles, 323 
Velsk district, 300 
Verkhne-Iset mines, 

284, 288 


works, 288 
Verkhne-Tagilski, 2 50 
Vcrkhnc-Udinsk : 
climate, 37 

319, 331, 354 
history, 300 
minerals, 274 
population, 203 
Verkhne-Udinsk dis- 
trict, 203, 312 
Verkholensk district : 
administration, 311 
fauna, 87 
minerals, 295 
stock-raising, 251 
Verkhoture, 319 
Verkhoyansk, 29, 37, 

207, 200 
Verkhoyansk district, 

245, 255, 312 
Verkhoyansk Mts., 22, 49 
Vilyui R„ 43, 207, 275, 
282. 294 

Vilyuisk, 330 
Vilyuisk district, 312 
Virma, 05 
Vitim goldfields, 275, 

282, 280 
Vitim plateau, 27 
Vitim R., 351 
Vitimsk district, 54, 311 
Vladimir, 210 
Vladimir Bay, 273 
Vladivostok, 27, 312 
climate, 30, 32, 37, 

319, 329-331. 
333, 340, 347 
history, 303 
industry, 79, 83, 

243, 270 
minerals, 274, 291 
trade, 82, 252, 208, 
Voguls, 130, 137 
Volcanoes, 18 
Vologda, 352 
Volosts, 310 
Volshaya R., 284 
Voriema R., 332 
Voronov, 332 
Votyaks, 137 
Vyatka-Kotlas Rail- 
way, 353 
Vyerni, 331 

Weights and measures, 

Whales, 60 
White Sea, 35, 04, 305- 

307, 332 
Winds, 31 

Wireless telegraphs, 332- 

Yablonoi Mts., 19, 345 
Yakuts, 115, 163-108, 

Yakutsk : 

administration, 312 
agriculture, 244 
climate, 29, 37 
3.-{< > 



history, 187, 359 
industry, 299 
minerals, 272 
Yakutsk Province : 

administration, 312 
agriculture, 244, 

colonization, 202 
industry, 87 
minerals, 285 
stock-raising, 248, 
250, 255 
Yalutorovsk district, 31 1 
Yamsk, 333 
Yana R., 24, 43, 265 
Yaroslav, 354 
Yaya R., 343 
Yekaterinburg, 188, 

Yekaterinoslavka, 240 
Yenisei R, 24, 25, 26 
agriculture, 239, 

colonization, 207 
325, 326, 330, 
fauna, 54, 61 
fishories, 72-74 
freezing, 43 
history, 356 
industry, 240 

minerals, 272. 281, 

287, 290, 291, 


vegetation, 46, 265 

Yenisei-Samoyedes, 148 

Yeniseisk : 

climate, 30, 31, 36 

330, 354 
history, 359 
industry, 299 
trade, 74, 89 
Yeniseisk goldfields, 286 
Yeniseisk Province : 

agriculture, 246, 

' 247 
colonization, 201 
industry, 86, 260, 

minerals, 281, 288 
stock-raising, 248, 
25 1 , 253-255 
Yermak, 187, 358, 359 
Yevgenevka : see 

Yugan R., 86 
Yugor Strait, 332 
Yukaghir, 97, 113-117 
Yuraks, 147 
Yurga, 350 

Z ' 

Zaisan, 301,331 
Zaisan district, 232, 313 
Zaisan L., 27, 67, 71, 

234, 280 
Zalara R., 43 
Zavitaya R., 43, 256 
Zeya district, 310 
Zeya R. : 

climate, 43 

fauna, 54 

freezing, 43 

minerals, 275, 283 

vegetation, 267 
Zcya-Bureya plain, 241 . 

Zeya-Pristan, 242, 267, 

276, 283 
Zhalinda R., 283 
Zhigalovskaya, 354 
Zhigansk, 296 
Zima, 344 
Zinc, 285 
Zirians, 133-136 
Ziryanovskoe silver- 
mines, 285 
Zmyeinogorsk, 257, 280, 

285, 301 
Zmyeinogorsk district, 

252, 256, 311 
Zvanka, 351 









Great Britain. Naval Intelli 
gence Division 

A handbook of Siberia and 
Arctic Russia